(Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS) The finishing touches are being made to the modular housing units along Royal Crescent, scheduled to today.

Maple Ridge’s modular housing opens Friday

Anita Place residents have been doing Christmas-style countdown

Maple Ridge’s new modular housing complex for homeless people will open Friday.

Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, will be joined by Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, and Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, as well as project partners for the opening of the new supportive housing for people in need.

It is located at 22534 Royal Cr. in Maple Ridge. Politicians will officially open the project, then tour the 53-unit building, beginning at 11 a.m.

“It’s great to have here. Hopefully, it’s going to get a good number of people from the camp into safe housing,” Mayor Nicole Read said Thursday. “That’s 53 people whose lives will be different tomorrow morning. That’s a big deal.”

Coast Mental Health CEO Darrell Burnham explained his organization will take over the facility on Monday, will do staff training and preparation, and by the end of next week begin populating the rooms. He said it will fill at the rate of about five per day, depending on the circumstances of the residents.

Coast Mental Health also runs Alouette Heights on Brown Avenue, for people who are at-risk of homelessness or living on the streets.

“We’re very excited. It’s going to make a big difference to the community,” Burnham said of the modular housing. “Fifty-three people housed does not end homelessness in Maple Ridge, but it will certainly be noticeable.”

He added that 53 people will have stability in their lives – for most many it will be the first time in years.

All of the units have been spoken for. After an interview process, they were allocated to residents of Anita Place, those staying at the Salvation Army shelter and people who are living on the streets.

Anita Place Tent city opened on 223rd Street on May 2, 2017.

“I’m very excited to hear it’s officially opening,” said Chris Bossley, a council candidate for the Oct. 20 municipal election and who has been a volunteer with Maple Ridge’s homeless community.

While she deferred to Ivan Drury of the Alliance Against Displacement as the spokesperson for the residents of the Anita Place Tent City, Bossley said she knows it is welcomed by camp residents, who she said have been counting down the days to the opening of the modular units like waiting for Christmas.

“On an individual basis, the folks who are moving in are very excited. They are literally doing the ‘10 more sleeps, nine more sleeps …’ They can’t wait to get in there.”

Bossley noted some of the residents of Anita Place have been living in the tent city for almost a year and a half, and many had their possessions damaged by a flash flood last month.

Coun. Gordy Robson said he will reserve judgement on whether the supportive housing will benefit downtown.

“It depends on how it’s run,” he said. “It’s not where it is, but what it is.”

Robson does not want to see it run like Coquitlam’s 30-30 Gordon facility, he said.

“If it’s a place where they can come and go and pillage all night, it’s not going to be successful.”

The emphasis should be on treatment, he added.

“Focus on trying to save their lives, and trying to get them clean.”

Once the Royal Crescent facility is operational, there will always be staff on site to support the residents. They will be provided meals, and services will include mental health and addiction treatment, as well as life skills programming.

Drury has said 200 units are needed to house the city’s homeless, and that the new supportive housing will not allow Anita Place to be cleared.

Just Posted

On Cooking: Holiday baking tips

It is best to keep pie pastry as cold possible.

Gardening: Creating a white Christmas

‘Plenty of white flowers and foliage to choose from.’

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

Dwillies stepping down from Haney Farmers Market

Maple Ridge senior spends majority of life focused on food

MacDuff’s Call: Respecting Christ as part of Christmas

Tradition of helping people less fortunate is huge part of season.

VIDEO: Goalie scores as Flames sink Whalers

Paul Tucek pots empty-netter, then fights break out.

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

VIDEO: Giants head into holidays with a win at home

Vancouver G-Men don’t play next until Dec. 28, after 2-1 victory over Prince George Sunday.

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

VIDEO: Giants fall to Royals 4-2 in Victoria Saturday night

Second loss in as many days for G-Men, who are back home in Langley today to take on the Cougars.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

Most Read