11:36 AM

Abbotsford Lonzo encampment closed for shelter construction

ABBOTSFORD - An important step in breaking the cycle of homelessness in Abbotsford has been completed with the closure of the Lonzo Road and Sumas Way encampment and the start of construction on a new 50-bed shelter.

"We understand it is a challenging situation for those who were sheltering at the site, and for people currently experiencing homelessness in Abbotsford," said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. "We have made progress with the site now cleared and people sheltering at the encampment who accepted offers for shelter have received it, but there is more work to do. I want to thank the local outreach workers, and staff from BC Housing, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, for their work supporting individuals through this process."

The Lonzo Road site is now closed to the public and has been fenced off to ensure building crews have access to prepare for construction of the 50-bed shelter.

The 17 people sheltering at the encampment were offered indoor housing. Those who accepted were assisted in moving to shelter spaces or were provided rent supplements for use in the private market. Others relocated without assistance.

Construction of the new shelter is expected to be complete by the end of 2023. Once complete, the shelter will operate for as long as 18 months, while a new permanent shelter location is secured. The Province, through BC Housing, is investing approximately $4 million through the Homeless Action Plan for the new Lonzo shelter. It will be operated by the Lookout Housing and Health Society.

With the site now secure, the Province will partner with Abbotsford to implement the new Homeless Encampment Action Response Teams (HEART) program this fall and support people in encampments on the path to stable housing.

The Province will also continue to implement Belonging in BC, government's plan to address homelessness. The plan will also add 3,900 new supportive housing units and 240 complex-care spaces provincewide.

This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has more than 76,000 new homes that have been delivered or are underway, including nearly 480 homes in Abbotsford.

Learn More:

For information about the Abbotsford Lonzo Road site, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0069-000928

To learn about government's new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

To learn more about the HEART and HEARTH programs, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/HEART-HEARTH

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing/