(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

Long-time Maple Ridge business hit by downtown road construction

Last phase of improvement project to start on other side of highway

News Views: New leaf

Some warn recreational cannabis use will increase now.

Pitt Meadows airport getting $60 million in investment

‘Increased air traffic is being planned over the objections of neighbours’

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

VIDEO: Fire crew mopping up workshop fire near Golden Ears Bridge

Structure fire at 208 and 102B sending plumes of black smoke into air above Walnut Grove

Look inside Maple Ridge’s new homeless housing

53 units of supportive housing officially opened on Friday

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

Most Read