Where are We At?
The intended closure of the temporary shelter was March 31, 2016. On February 17, 2017, almost a year later, MLA Mark Dalton and MLA Doug Bing announced some changes to services for homelessness in Maple Ridge.
Let’s break this down.
Investments in Affordable Housing
The Province has committed $11 million for a new development at 11907 228 Street, to be operated by the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Community Services Housing Society. This building will provide 80 units of affordable housing for seniors and families.
The Province has also announced that Coast Mental Health has taken over as the new operator for Alouette Heights, a supportive housing development that provides 46 units of supportive housing.
Intensive Case Management (ICM)
BC Housing and the Fraser Health Authority will partner to create an Intensive Case Management (ICM) team to serve the community. ICM is a team-based model of care serving individuals with severe substance use disorder, who may or may not have concurrent disorders and/or mental illness. These individuals face complex challenges related to health, housing and poverty, and face barriers in accessing existing health or social services.
RainCity Housing will be managing the ICM team with offices located at the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries. This is a much needed service for the community and will have an impact in the long term.
The Province will also provide $252,000 for up to 40 rent subsidies for the ICM program to ensure access to affordable housing with dedicated supports. Fraser Health will work in close collaboration with the ICM team to provide comprehensive wrap-around services. The increased rent subsidies, and supports provided by ICM teams, will help at-risk individuals with obtaining longer-term housing solutions.
Closure of Temporary Shelter
BC Housing has informed RainCity Housing that, as part of the closure plan for the temporary shelter at 22239 Lougheed Hwy., new intakes will end effective March 1, 2017. A curfew will also be implemented at that time. BC Housing will be meeting with RainCity, the RCMP and the City of Maple Ridge to discuss implementation of the closure plan. There will be a Transition Team comprised of BC Housing, Fraser Health, RCMP, Bylaws, Fire, Social Planning, Parks, Salvation Army, RainCity Housing and Coast Mental Health who will work together to ensure that individuals from the shelter receive the supports and services that they need and that the services changes minimally impact the neighbourhood and community. The temporary shelter will finally close on May 31, 2017.
The Province will provide funding for an additional 30 overnight shelter spaces at the Maple Ridge Salvation Army to ensure the most vulnerable members of the community have a place to sleep and the opportunity to connect with support services. The target population will be people transitioning out of the RainCity temporary shelter. The extra spaces will be open for six months.
In other words. the Salvation Army will expand their mat program from 15 to 30 and the 40 residents of the temporary shelter will be encouraged to move to the mats at the Salvation Army shelter. Individuals will be asked to leave the shelter during the day from 1:00 to 8:00 pm so other programming can take place.
Hope for Freedom
The Province will provide $50,000 in funding to pay for a new kitchen for Hope for Freedom, an abstinence-based program in Maple Ridge that serves people with addictions, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Permanent Housing Facility
The Province remains committed to providing $15 million in capital funding towards a permanent shelter and/or supportive housing program, and will form a community committee to identify an appropriate location. In terms of the long-term use of 21375 Lougheed Highway, discussions will take place between the Province and the City on the future uses for the site, such as affordable housing for seniors or families. It is important to note that any provincially owned lands or operated facility are exempt from municipal zoning regulations. The Province has the ability to place a shelter anywhere in the community without going through municipal zoning processes.
As of today the decision making progress remains as indicated below.