A new affordable housing project in Maple Ridge will have 20 units designated for youth who need support.
Provincial politicians and some board members from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services met outside the new Cornerstone Landing building on 228th Street Tuesday afternoon, and with the sounds of construction still in the air, announced the new plan.
“Too many young people in our province do not have access to the affordable housing they need,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission on behalf of David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “We are working with our partners to build safe and secure homes like these, so vulnerable youth have the stable foundation they need to take the next steps toward adulthood.”
The province, through BC Housing, is providing an annual operating subsidy of $330,000 for the 20 youth units at Cornerstone Landing, the six-storey below-market rental building that is under construction. The subsidy will provide increased affordability and support services for youth between the ages of 18-25 who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, are precariously housed or transitioning to independence.
“The idea here is they will have a place to sleep. They’ll have a safe place with the counselling, life-skills training, schooling to get them back on their feet,” said D’Eith.
Community Services directors said the funding is a big step forward.
“You can fill these apartments with people, but if you don’t have the support for those people, the programs just do not work,” said Community Services director Clive Williams, thanking BC Housing on behalf of the board of directors.
Community Services executive director Vicki Kipps said there is a large demand for youth housing in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, particularly for foster children who are “aging out” of the foster care system.
She noted that Cornerstone Landing will provide 74 other below-market rental homes for seniors, individuals and families with low-to moderate incomes. There will be 36 studio apartments including the youth units, 40 one-bedrooms, 13 two-bedroom units, and five three-bedroom units.
“The vision has always been that it will be a community of people,” she said.
Community Services will also be moving into the building, with offices on the ground floor and also much of the second floor. The agency is an experienced non-profit housing provider, and will operate the building and provide youth residents with services that include counselling, advocacy, schooling, life-skills training and health and wellness supports. At least two staff members will be on site seven days a week.
Youth will be identified through the Ministry of Children and Family Development or apply for the housing themselves. They do not need to be receiving services from the ministry to qualify.
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