Modular apartments creating dozens of new homes for mental health clients

·2 min read
Work began on putting the modules together three days ago and could be done Tuesday. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)
Work began on putting the modules together three days ago and could be done Tuesday. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)

A building is quickly going up in downtown Charlottetown that will provide housing for clients of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

"We're super excited to be able to provide 28 more individuals with really great, beautiful, affordable housing for the future," said Shelley Muzika, executive director of the P.E.I. division of CMHA.

The 36 modules, including 28 apartments and workspace for CMHA staff, are being set in place by a crane. The initial building phase will take less than a week. Plumbing and electrical are already installed in the units but some work will be required to connect everything together.

"We're on the construction site today hoisting modules into place just like Lego blocks," said Craig Mitchell, the project manager with 720 Solutions.

"That's really what it's all about — is to have people in homes quickly."

Work at 203 Fitzroy Street began just last week and people could be moving in before the end of June.

"We're hoping for a good day today and we should wrap it up by tomorrow night," said Troy Ferguson, president of 720 Solutions.

Four of the apartments are also barrier-free suites, he said.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

The federal government announced $7.9 million for the project from its rapid housing initiative. The province had previously announced $2 million.

"It took a year in the planning, the modules have been built off site, and they're going up at a pace that's blinding," said Charlottetown MP Sean Casey.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

"We know that there is a real problem with affordable housing in Canada. P.E.I. is not immune by any stretch, and those who feel it the most are the most vulnerable. This project addresses that specific need."

Casey said there are plans in the works for similar projects and he hopes to make a further announcement in May.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

"Wow, this went up so quickly and in a matter of days," said Brad Trivers, P.E.I.'s minister of Social Development and Housing. "This could be just the beginning of many good things to come.

"We're looking at projects like this and saying, 'OK, how can modular housing be used to help with our housing situation in other areas on the Island?'"

Muzika said the new units will bring the total number of apartments managed by CMHA in the province to more than 200.

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