Vicki Murphy, Eva Bardonnex and Maria Horvath were waiting to see if they could get into modular homes which opened in October on Royal Crescent. (THE NEWS/files)

Rearview: Modular homes open in Maple Ridge, after protest

53 new homes provided to people who didn’t have them

It’s not as bad as he thought.

But Dave Anderson still doesn’t like the idea of living next to the modular housing units that opened on Royal Crescent in mid-October.

Anderson was one of three seniors arrested last May, following a court injunction as they sat on the work site which now houses the temporary homes.

He lives just steps from the complex.

“I’d like to see it shut down completely,” Anderson said recently. “It’s still not the place for it.”

Anderson said the streets are noisy outside the homes at night time and over the course of a week, there are about 10 or 20 fire or police calls.

The 53 units in the facility, installed by B.C. Housing without authorization by Maple Ridge council, were filled gradually with a mix of people from a variety of locations.

B.C. Housing said that 25 people from Anita Place Tent City, two blocks away, moved into the temporary modular housing complex.

Another 18 came from the Salvation Army shelter and another 10 came from the streets, the bush or living in vehicles in and around Maple Ridge.

However, about another 65 people still remain in tent city, which faced its second winter at the bottom of 223rd Street beside the Haney Bypass.

B.C. Housing said outreach workers were trying to find apartments, with the assistance of 40 rental supplements, for those remaining in tent city.

Coast Mental Health was chosen as the modular homes operator last April and said that it will provide daily meals, access to mental health and addictions treatment, as well as life skills programs.

One resident of the complex was looking to relocate once she could find her own apartment.

”So it’s a good place if you want to get clean – but it’s not a good place if you want to stay clean.”

Susan Hancock, with Coast Mental Health, said that modular homes will ensure that residents get mental health or addictions care either within Maple Ridge or outside the community.

Fraser Health is one resource, she added.

“One of our values is to be client-focused. So our goal is to find the resources that our clients need to support them, wherever they’re at in their recovery,” Hancock said.

She said life skills programs, such as personal cooking, could be offered on site because the modular facility has an industrial kitchen.

“Those are going on at most of our housing programs. Different types of housing … those types of programming are going on in each scenario.”

It is a low-barrier facility that follows the Housing First principle.

“At the end of the day, our first priority is putting people into homes and giving them the space they need, wherever they’re at, to start their recovery. And that often means that some people will have addiction problems,” Hancock said.

Building the complex required B.C. Housing moving a heritage home from that location to the Maple Ridge Cemetery, where it will be used as an administrative building.

Current Mayor Mike Morden said last spring, however, that the housing wouldn’t help residents because there wasn’t enough long-term care and that it would have “huge consequences” for the downtown.

The previous city council in May defeated at first reading, a proposal to put in an 85-unit supportive housing complex and shelter in the 11700-block of Burnett Street before it got past first reading.

A group called Burnett Street Neighbours collected a petition opposing that.

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Seniors who lived next door, protested BC Housing plans for modular housing on Royal Crescent. (THE NEWS/files)

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