Richmond’s emergency response centre, located in the old Minoru seniors’ centre, will remain open through at least the end of February.
“The goal is for it to remain open as a bridge to the temporary modular housing on Smith Street when it is completed this coming summer,” says the city’s communications director Clay Adams.
The Smith Street project, a collaboration between the city and BC Housing, was approved by city council in March. It will see a three-storey building constructed near Bridgeport Canada Line station. It will operate for about three years and contain 40 homes.
The emergency response centre first opened in May 2020 to provide shelter to vulnerable people during the pandemic. It is a partnership between the city, BC Housing and Turning Point Recovery Society. Access is by referral only; walk-ins are not accepted.
There are 45 beds and access to showers, entertainment, social supports and health care. Staff is on-site 24/7 and provide daily meals and cleaning services.
Adams says on most days, anywhere from 40 to 45 spaces are occupied.
“Some stay for a few weeks, others a few days, and some even transition in and out from time to time depending on their circumstances,” he says.
“We can certainly say the emergency response centre has provided much-needed supports for those Richmond residents experiencing a lack of permanent housing and kept many living on the street safe from COVID-19 and other issues.”
Once the emergency response centre has closed, the building will be converted into a cultural centre annex. Adams says the city anticipates the transformation to start in the latter part of 2022.
Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel