09:21 AM

New supportive housing to be built in Port Alberni

PORT ALBERNI – New supportive housing, and 20 new shelter spaces, will help address the immediate needs of people in Port Alberni, who are without homes and trying to find a stable place to live.

“Homelessness is an acute issue in B.C., and the new housing development in Port Alberni will help provide relief to people living without shelter and to families dealing with the pain of a loved one who is in need of support,” said Scott Fraser, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “The combination of new shelter spaces and modular housing units allows us to quickly offer that support – safe places to live with access to the services people need to overcome the experiences that led to homelessness in the first place.”

The project will consist of 30 units of supportive housing that are self-contained, and include a bathroom and kitchenette. An additional five units will be reserved for shelter spaces that will sleep up to four individuals per unit. A multi-purpose wet-weather room will be used for additional extreme weather shelter spaces in the winter months.

The Port Alberni Shelter Society has been selected to operate the building, to be located at 3939 - 8th Ave. Staff will be on site 24/7 and help provide services, such as meal programs, and life and employment skills training, as well as health and wellness support services.

The Courtenay-based Muchalat Group has been selected by the Province to manufacture the homes in Port Alberni, and for several other projects in B.C., supporting jobs and local economies.

Island Health owns the land where the project will be built, and has agreed to lease the site to BC Housing.

The project is expected to be open for residents by December 2018.

Questions or comments can be sent to: communityrelations@bchousing.org


Mike Ruttan, mayor, City of Port Alberni –
“The City of Port Alberni is pleased with this investment by the Province that will bring much needed supportive housing, and additional shelter beds, to our community. We congratulate BC Housing, Island Health and the Port Alberni Shelter Society on achieving this partnership, which will positively impact the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Wes Hewitt, executive director, Port Alberni Shelter Society –
“The Port Alberni Shelter Society started work on this project in 2010, by putting together Island Health, the Alberni Clayquot Regional District, the City of Port Alberni and BC Housing as partners to work toward this goal. It has been difficult and challenging at times, but we have all worked together to service the needs of the community and the Port Alberni Shelter Society is very pleased to be a part of this announcement.”

Tania Formosa, director, Muchalat Group of Companies –
"We are pleased to be a part of the British Columbia government’s initiative to provide housing for those at risk in our communities. We appreciate the opportunity to provide multi-unit modular-building solutions to communities on Vancouver Island from our manufacturing plant located in the Comox Valley.”

Marie Duperreault, interim executive director, Island Health –
“Island Health understands the important role that housing plays in people’s health. We’re happy to be able to support our partners with this project.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province is investing $7.4 million in capital and construction costs, and an annual operating subsidy, for the project.
  • The homes will be funded through the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, part of a provincewide investment of $291 million to build 2,000 homes throughout B.C., and more than $170 million over three years for 24/7 staffing and support services.
  • To date, close to 1,800 new homes, for people most in need, are in development in 20 communities throughout the province.
  • Budget 2018 provides further supports for people experiencing homelessness, with funding for an additional 2,500 new units of supportive housing and support services.
  • The Province will be working with people with lived experience, local governments and community partners to develop a Homelessness Action Plan, to reduce homelessness through permanent housing and services.
  • The Province invested $550,000 to fund homeless counts in up to 12 communities, including Port Alberni, during March and April 2018, to help inform B.C.’s Homelessness Action Plan. Preliminary results from the count are expected to be released in the early summer.

Learn More:

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

To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges

A backgrounder follows.


Media Relations
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Rajvir Rao
BC Housing


Services and supports provided for modular housing

All new modular housing buildings in the province are being provided with around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing.

Experienced non-profit housing providers will provide support to tenants based on their assessed needs.

Some of the services and supports that will be provided to young people, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, are:

  • meals;
  • 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 B.C. 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 or off site.


Media Relations
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Rajvir Rao
BC Housing