94 affordable rental units coming to Maple Ridge

More affordable rental housing is coming to Maple Ridge, but advocates say the city isn't doing enough to provide housing for the homeless community. 

A new six-storey rental home project will offer 94 units from studio to three-bedroom suites, the provincial government announced Monday.

Located at 22768 119 Ave. the building will also provide office space for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services and is expected to be completed in 2021.

Once complete, 10 of the units will be offered at a provincial shelter rate of $375 a month. Another 10 units will be set aside for people with household incomes under $51,500, with rent no more than 30 per cent of their monthly income.

All other units will range from $850 to $1,600 a month.

The building is not meant to be housing for those who are homeless, but for singles, families or seniors living on limited incomes. 

"We are strongly committed to delivering housing for those that can't afford it, be that seniors or be those people that simply need a place to live," Mayor Mike Morden said. 

Maggie MacPherson/CBC

Days after the city dismantled the Anita Place tent city to create a public park, advocates say not enough is being done to support the city's homeless community.

Alliance Against Displacement organizer Ivan Drury said the city has not given former residents at Anita Place any promises that they would be first in line for housing and feels their requests have fallen on deaf ears. 

The city has provided some modular housing for the homeless community, but Drury said only half of the amount needed has been opened in the city.

"The modular housing that has been created is a temporary solution, a Band-Aid on a festering wound," he said. 

"Where is the other half? Where is the mayor's will to open that housing? Where is B.C. Housing's action to start an exit strategy so that people aren't stuck in temporary modular trailers for the rest of their lives?"

There are still up to 150 former residents of Anita Place who are experiencing homelessness, Drury said.

Justin Tottenham, a long-term Anita Place resident whose structure was one of the last demolished in the camp, is now living in the Garibaldi Ridge modular housing development.

He says many people living in the building are not from Maple Ridge and the city is far from solving the issue of homelessness. He says he feels the mayor has not listened to the homeless community.

"[Morden] promised to solve the homeless problem out here. He didn't," he said.

"I can go for a walk any night and bump into ... people that lived in the tent city, that should be in the new [modulars] but are still doing the daily grind and suffering on the street for no reason.

"There's no reason my friends should still be out on the street .... suffering the way they are."

Tristan Le Rudulier/CBC