A location for additional temporary supportive housing in Maple Ridge, to help close tent city, will be known by the end of this week.
Melanie Kilpatrick, with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, confirmed a specific location will be known by the end of the week.
While Maple Ridge’s evacuation shelter closed during the day Monday, the ministry said the facility at 22239 Lougheed Hwy. was not intended to be a long-term solution and that it’s “moving forward with building temporary supportive housing on an expedited basis to get the camp closed down and to house the people experiencing homelessness in Maple Ridge.”
The city’s evacuation shelter for Anita Place Tent City closed during the day Monday, forcing more than 30 occupants to pack up and leave. They can return at night, for now.
A notice on the door of the shelter Monday read that it will be open evenings only, until the end of March, after which it closes completely. That left the residents inside with no definite place to go during the day, apart from the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministry shelter. A mat program at local churches also opens at night, until March 31.
Joseph Stickney had been staying at the evacuation shelter and said that its closure means he’s going back to camping beside the Fraser River. He had been living at tent city on 223rd Street for two years, but didn’t become a verified resident, as required by a previous court order, because he didn’t want his photo taken.
He’s no longer allowed in tent city.
The city didn’t say where evacuation shelter residents could go.
“The city has presented the social housing plan recommendations to the B.C. government and is continuing to work with B.C. Housing in a collaborative fashion to determine how this plan can be implemented to address the short-term and long-term housing and social support needs for Maple Ridge,” the city stated Monday.
However, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson rejected that plan last week, after imposing a deadline for one, saying the city hasn’t come up with a workable solution for supportive housing and that it had been told the Royal Crescent temporary modular housing site can’t be expanded due to property size and slope restrictions.
Last year, B.C. Housing bought property on Royal Crescent, and built 53 supportive housing units, without seeking the city’s approval.
On Friday, Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden said in a release that the city understands there may be limitations to the number of units that can be added to the existing Royal Crescent site.
“We ask the minister to allow the city and B.C. Housing staff to continue their collaborative work underway to identify the site constraints and how to overcome them,” he added.