Photo by Chung Chow
In the spring sunshine, with a simple gathering in the small parking lot just off Alderbridge Way, Richmond’s first temporary supportive modular apartment building opened on Friday, April 12.
Speakers made it clear that the Housing First policy provides a solid start for people struggling with physical and mental health as they journey towards a better life and begin accessing better opportunities in a healthy community.
Musqueam elder Cecilia Point opened the proceedings with a traditional welcome.
Long a Richmond resident, with children in school here, Point said she was happy Richmond was involved in this development, continuing a long Musqueam tradition.
“I love the direction you are going here. We have always looked after all our family,” she said.
The 40 units offer 24-hour care to formerly homeless individuals, particularly those at high risk. Fifteen women and 25 men will call this complex—of 275-square-foot bachelor apartments with a large common room—home.
As the press and gathered dignitaries toured the soon-to-open low-rise apartment building, one of the manager’s dogs accepted cuddles from passers-by. The apartment building will be pet friendly and have its own off-leash area.
This new apartment building offers 24-hour, everyday-of-the-week staffing for the residents, many of whom may have complex physical and/or mental health needs.
“Our entire community will benefit from people moving off the street,” said Acting Mayor Alexa Loo.
Statistics looking at communities—before and after the construction of housing for people living on the streets—shows that supportive housing in itself provides solutions.
The gathered dignitaries were clear: this is a great start. We need more supportive housing in Richmond because there were enough applications for this one building to fill it twice over.
Raincity Housing will manage the private apartments, which will not be open to tours.
“There is still an urgent need to build more of these homes,” Raincity’s co-executive director, Catharine Hume said. “Thank you to people working to resolve homelessness in this community.”