Smith Street housing project will open next year

·2 min read

A temporary supportive housing project will open next spring in Richmond.

To be located on Smith Street, the project will house people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It was approved by city council in March.

The building will have three storeys and 40 units, each of which will have a private washroom and kitchenette. The building will also have a commercial kitchen, laundry facilities and a storage space.

"The Bridgeport project is an important step in addressing local affordable housing needs and will provide much-needed transitional accommodation for Richmond residents experiencing homelessness,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “The City of Richmond is committed to remaining a local leader and working with the province, BC Housing and community organizations to make housing and services available for Richmond's most vulnerable residents."

BC Housing will select an operator for the building. The operator will provide residents with support services including daily meals, life skills training, employment assistance and counselling, physical and mental-health resources, and access to addiction treatment and recovery services. The site will have around-the-clock staffing to provide support to residents.

The Smith Street building will replace Richmond's temporary emergency response centre, located in the old Minoru seniors’ centre. The temporary centre opened in May 2020 with 45 beds available by referral to those experiencing homelessness. It is set to close next summer, according to the province.

The new building on Smith Street will be open for three years, until a permanent supportive housing building opens in the community. The modular homes will be built off-site and transported to the location for assembly.

The province, through BC Housing, is providing about $8.6 million through the Homelessness Action Plan for the project, as well as an annual operating subsidy of approximately $1.4 million. The city is providing a $250,000 grant and the land for the project.

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel

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