Affordable housing is top of mind for many British Columbians in Metro Vancouver. As more political candidates make proposals for how to deal with housing issues, new temporary supportive housing opened its doors in Richmond yesterday (Sept. 20).
Aster Place will provide housing for 30 vulnerable people who are currently residing at Richmond's temporary Emergency Response Centre (ERC), which has provided them with safe housing during the COVID-19 pandemic but is now closing.
According to BC Housing, the temporary housing is located at 2520 Smith St. and includes 40-self contained units, each with a kitchenette and private washroom. In addition, the building also offers a commercial kitchen, laundry facilities and storage space.
Vacancies in the building will be filled by other residents in the Richmond area who may be deemed at risk or are experiencing homelessness, said BC Housing in a statement to BIV.
“I'm so glad to see the doors open on Aster Place, adding 40 safe and secure homes with supports for people in Richmond. More supportive housing for our neighbours who experience homelessness is good for the whole community,” said Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough.
Community Builders Group will run the facility by providing residents with support services like daily meals, life-skills training, employment counselling and physical or mental-health resources, in addition to access to addiction treatment and recovery services.
Aster Place will run for three years, during which time the City of Richmond, alongside the province of B.C., will explore more permanent housing solutions for the area.
According to a survey from the Mustel Group and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, affordable housing is the top concern for residents in Richmond, South Delta and Tsawwassen (30 per cent).
Malcolm Brodie, Mayor of Richmond, said Aster Place is another component to Richmond’s homelessness strategy.
“The City of Richmond, BC Housing, the Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing, and Community Builders have worked together on this project to connect with tenants in need, understand the supportive services required and provide a safe and stable housing environment. The City of Richmond remains committed to being a leader that works with our community organizations and partners to provide options for those who have no home,” he said.
According to BC Housing, the province has provided roughly $9.5 million through the Homelessness Action Plan for the project and will provide annual operating funding of roughly $1.24 million.