New housing brings support and hope for people in need in Kamloops
KAMLOOPS – People experiencing homelessness in the area will soon have permanent modular homes with around-the-clock staffing and wrap-around supports in the aptly named Spero House or “house of hope.”
“Without the foundation of a place to call home, it’s next to impossible for people to build a stable life with opportunities for success,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Based on the housing first model, these homes will not only help people in Kamloops stabilize their lives, they will give them the tools to improve their lives and will benefit the community as a whole.”
Located at 317 Tranquille Road, Spero House features 58 permanent studio homes, each with a bathroom and kitchenette, plus four transitional suites offering short-term accommodation. Eight of the homes are designed for people with disabilities. In addition to the new homes, Spero House includes a shared dining room, a commercial kitchen, a harm reduction space, laundry and storage.
“Spero House is about hope, about having a chance at a new start,” said Katherine McParland, BC Housing board member. “It provides an opportunity for people to leave the streets and shelter system for a safe, stable, permanent home. Residents have the opportunity to regain their lives with support and connections to counselling, as well as health, mental health and addiction recovery services and more.”
ASK Wellness Society will operate the building and provide residents with 24/7 on-site staff and support services, including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services and opportunities for volunteer work.
B.C.-based manufacturer Horizon North was selected by the Province to manufacture the homes in Kamloops, and for several other modular projects in B.C., supporting jobs and local economies.
Provincial Investments in the past 18 months are supporting the construction of 4,700 new supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness across B.C.
Residents will begin moving into the building in April 1, 2019.
Delivering affordable housing is a shared commitment between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is a part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Ken Christian, mayor of Kamloops –
"Kamloops City Council welcomes Spero House supportive housing. Far too many people in Kamloops, and other cities, are homeless. Projects like this one give people a chance to regain their health, wellness and lives.”
Bob Hughes, executive director, Spero House –
Spero House offers hope: hope that once people have a safe place to be, they can focus on their health, wellness and whatever next steps they want and need to take. We are here to help support people get the life they didn’t know they could have. For many, housing like this is the first step to recovery.
- The Province has invested $11.4 million in capital and construction costs and will provide an annual operating subsidy of $984K for the project.
- The land for the permanent supportive housing project, valued at $455K, was provided by the City of Kamloops.
- Residents will be charged a monthly rental rate of $375, which is the social assistance shelter allowance provided by the Province to people experiencing homelessness.
- Through the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the Province is investing $291 million to build 2,000 homes around the province and more than $170 million over three years to provide 24/7 staffing and support services. Over 1,000 homes have been built.
- The Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs throughout the province, which includes 1,400 direct jobs and another 650 jobs in supplier industries.
Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program: www.bchousing.org/partner-services/Building-BC/rapid-response-homelessness
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
Read TogetherBC: British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/poverty-reduction-strategy
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Services and supports provided for modular housing
All new modular housing buildings in the province have around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing.
The Province is investing $170 million over three years to help those with the highest housing needs to build new beginnings. Experienced non-profit housing providers will provide support to tenants based on their assessed needs.
Services and supports provided to young people, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, include:
- connecting residents to community supports, such as education and employment opportunities, and health and wellness services;
- individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information and social and recreational programs;
- case planning and needs assessment;
- other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally-specific programs;
- assistance to access income assistance, pension benefits, disability benefits, obtaining a BC Identification Card or establishing a bank account;
- support for residents to learn how to operate and maintain a home; and
- no-cost laundry services, either on-site or off-site.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing