Kits supportive housing - w8th & arbutus proposal

Vancouver is in desperate need of affordable and adequate housing. Overlapping housing and public health crisis', combined with a lack of political solutions, has elevated rates of homelessness to an all time high. Over 2,000 residents across the City are currently unhoused - including many members of the existing Kitsilano community. 

BC Housing has proposed 129 new supportive housing units for 2086 and 2098 West 7th Avenue, 2091 West 8th Avenue. The project would provide 129 new homes with supports for women, adults, seniors and people with disabilities who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the local community. 

Every person has a right to safe and decent housing. In order to make this important project a reality, we urge Vancouver City Council to vote 'yes!' to the current proposal. The public hearing on rezoning is June 28, 2022. You can now register to voice your support here.

RIGHT TO HOUSING - SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

We welcome new neighbours to the community. Show your support for this project by writing to City Council to approve the rezoning application using this form.  You can also sign up to speak at the virtual public hearing here. The public hearing will take place on June 28, 2022 at 6pm. Sign up to our newsletter for real-time updates.

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Proposal at a glance

  • 129 new studio units with private bathrooms

  • At least 5% of the homes would be fully accessible

  • In-building aThe building would also include amenities such as laundry, a dining area, program space, and an underground parkade

  • On-site trained support workers

  • Programming supports, including:

    • Health and wellness services 

    • Education, training, and employment opportunities 

    • Mental health care 

    • Life skills training and support 

    • Substance use services, if required

Why Supportive Housing?

Supportive housing provides individuals with dedicated supports, to help those who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless, to be successful in their tenancies and communities. Trained support workers provide tenants with customized housing plans to ensure their long-term success. 

Image: BC Housing

Community Q&A

Q: Who will run this building?

The MPA Society has been selected as the non-profit operator for this proposal. The MPA Society was established right here in Kitsilano. They have been operating for 50 years. The vision of the MPA society is a society inclusive of people with mental illness who make choices about their lives and participate fully in their community. The MPA Society has been operating alternative supportive housing since the 1970s. MPA Society’s housing programs focus on connecting participants to family, friends and the larger community in which they live, while actively engaging with service users and community partners, to reduce the harm and stigma associated with having a mental illness.

Q: How will tenants for the proposed W 8th and Arbutus development be selected?

 

Residents are selected through a thoughtful and thorough assessment. This process is to make sure each person has the housing and support services they need to achieve a successful tenancy. BC Housing, service providers, and professional, non-profit housing operators work together to ensure the needs of residents will be met by the support services provided by the housing operators, local health care providers and community-based programs.

Source: BC Housing

Q: The current proposal is located in proximity to a school. Should I be worried?

Across the province, there are over 210 supportive housing units within 500 metres of a school (that's over half of all supportive housing projects in BC). Some of these projects have been for 10+ years near schools, with no issues. It is important to know all kinds of people live in supportive housing: young people, seniors, people with disabilities, people who have experienced trauma or poverty, and people who have struggled with the high cost of housing. 

Furthermore, before entering a project, BC Housing undertakes an assessment to identify appropriate tenants for the respective project.

Source: BC Housing, Community Acceptance Series

Q: Is the proposed building height the right scale for the community?

In the current context of Vancouver's housing crisis, we believe the proposed building design is appropriate. The proposal will bring at least 140 individuals in from the streets, or prevent them from becoming unhoused.

The proposed height is in line with many other residential developments in the Kits neighbourhood. There are multiple existing units near Kitsilano beach, and off West Broadway that range between 9-12 stories and do not disrupt the 'human scale' feel of the neighbourhood. Design features, such as setbacks, landscaping and building materials, will further add to the community integration.

Q: Why has the current W8th and Arbutus site been selected for this project? 

The site proposed for this development is currently sitting empty - meaning there will be no loss to existing housing units or commercial properties. Additionally, the site is in close proximity to the future location of the West Broadway/Arbutus subway extension line, which will provide future residents with critical transit access.

Q: Will this proposal decrease nearby property values?

Studies on the impact of supportive housing in BC showed that properties within the immediate surrounding areas kept pace or surpassed municipal trends.

Source: BC Housing, Community Acceptance Series

Q: Will crime increase?

 

All kinds of people with all kinds of needs access supportive housing. It is inappropriate to suggest that someone accessing supportive housing would pose a risk to the community. It is illegal to discriminate against people based on their needs when they apply for housing.

 

The supportive housing model provides residents with tailored supports to encourage healthy and sustainable lifestyles. 84% of current supportive housing tenants reported an increase in their mental wellbeing after accessing supportive housing (Source: BC Housing, Community Acceptance Series).

Q: Who will this development house?

This proposed development will provide housing to those currently experiencing homelessness, or at-risk of homelessness. This can be a spectrum of people, from children aging out of care, to seniors, mothers, fathers, youth, and people with disabilities.  

Q: How will this project impact density across the neighbourhood?

The rezoning proposed for this project only applies to chosen lot site. Rezoning at the proposed location does not mean that high density rezoning will occur elsewhere.

Q: Are women excluded from this project?

No! Tenants of any gender, sexuality, religious and ethnic background will be eligible to live in this building. Tenant selection is done via the BC Housing assessment criteria, which helps ensure that this housing is right for each individual tenant.