Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Horizon North Provides Almost 600 Modular Units for Homeless in Vancouver

Nearly all 600 units of temporary modular housing the provincial government of Vancouver, BC set out to build more than a year ago have been completed. The modular housing units were manufactured by Horizon North, the large modular construction company located in Alberta, Canada.

Across Canada, all levels of government are seeking innovative ways to provide housing options that can address the growing issue of homelessness. In a 2016 report on the State of Homelessness in Canada, it was estimated that at least 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year and 35,000 are homeless on a given night.

The latest to reach completion is located just west of the Olympic Village, on a City of Vancouver-owned parcel of land that once held the Enchant Christmas Light Maze. The project at 265 West 1st Avenue provides 52 homes for the homeless, and like other modular housing projects, each unit — approximately 320-sq-ft in size — is equipped with a bathroom and kitchenette.

Each new home will be approximately 320 sq. ft. The homes will have a kitchenette, bathroom, living and sleeping area, and individual heating, allowing the residents autonomy in their living spaces.

There will be common laundry facilities, an administration office, and meeting rooms for the staff and residents to use to provide services for an independent, but supported lifestyle. Six homes will be wheelchair accessible.

The building will also include a large indoor amenity space with a commercial kitchen that will provide a communal space for the residents to gather.

The completion of this project at Southeast False Creek brings the total number of completed modular units within Vancouver to 554 homes. The ninth and final project, providing 52 homes, is currently under construction at 258 Union Street — located just south of Chinatown on a city-owned green space at the easternmost end of the viaducts.

Modular housing units are being built in 22 municipalities across BC as one of the strategies to help address homelessness.

The modular structures can be dismantled and reassembled on another site when construction on permanent redevelopments begin. Such structures can be built in just a few weeks, and with a budget that is just a small fraction of the cost of a conventional structure.

All of the modular housing complexes in Vancouver have been built by Horizon North, which was initially selected for its experience with building similar structures for Alberta’s energy sector workers.

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