Rendering of proposed homeless shelter and supportive housing facility on Rowat Avenue and Trethewey Avenue in Chilliwack. (BC Housing)

Rendering of proposed homeless shelter and supportive housing facility on Rowat Avenue and Trethewey Avenue in Chilliwack. (BC Housing)

Supportive housing and shelter proposed to replace the Portal in Chilliwack

Province looking to fast-track hybrid proposal for 50 supportive homes and 40 shelter spaces

Plans are percolating to replace The Portal homeless shelter in downtown Chilliwack with a combined facility offering both supportive housing and a homeless shelter.

If the rezoning is approved, construction could begin as early as this spring on a modular building at Rowat Avenue and Trethewey Avenue.

The Province of B.C. through BC Housing has chosen the Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society to run the facility that would see 50 supportive homes, and a 40-bed shelter established for people experiencing homelessness in Chilliwack.

If approved, the hybrid shelter and housing project will offer the “possibility” of a fresh start for those struggling with housing unafforability.

“There’s a significant need to provide more supportive housing and shelter spaces for vulnerable people in Chilliwack,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.

In fact, “the Province is fast-tracking the plan to start construction at this site” to make sure people in need can secure a safe place to sleep, according to the BC Housing web page on the project.

Chilliwack volunteers recorded 306 people during the last homeless count in 2020, which was significantly more than the 221 in 2017.

But the location of the Portal shelter on Yale Road east near Williams Street became controversial after initially galvanizing solid community support. Residents of Chilliwack packed city hall in the fall of 2019 to vehemently oppose the downtown location of the Portal, asking council not to renew the permit allowing it to be sited in close proximity to so many schools.

The Portal’s temporary use permit is up in April 2021, but BC Housing has applied for an extension to smooth the transition.

RELATED: Parents say shelter too close to schools in the downtown

Working together the way they have on the challenge of homelessness is definitely the way to go, said Mayor Ken Popove.

“Providing supports for people experiencing homelessness involves an enormous amount of teamwork and collaboration,” said Popove. “We are grateful the province recognizes a need for supportive housing and shelter space in Chilliwack and look forward to working with them further.”

BC Housing and Phoenix Society submitted a rezoning application for the new facility to be located at Rowat and Trethewey. The site is seen as “ideal for use as a shelter and supportive housing project” as it is close to public transportation, clinics and other amenities, according to project proponents.

“Phoenix Society is excited to work with BC Housing and the City of Chilliwack on this proposal,” said Keir Macdonald, CEO, Phoenix Society. “We are confident it will provide the necessary supports to those who are in need in Chilliwack to help change the trajectory of their lives.”

Society staff would be on site 24/7 to provide support services for residents, including life skills training, mentorship and wellness checks, and would encourage culturally appropriate programming.

Fraser Health, through an integrated response team, will provide primary health care, home health and mental health and substance use services on site to some residents and shelter guests, as well as referral to mental health and substance use recovery programs, as needed.

The modular project would be L-shaped with supportive housing on one side and the shelter on the other side.

The building will be between three and four storeys high, with offices, meeting rooms and a commercial kitchen. The 50 homes would be studio units with private bathrooms and kitchens.

The shelter would be open nightly and provide a warm, safe and physically distanced place for people to stay.

“I’m grateful for the efforts of BC Housing and Phoenix Society for working together on this proposal,” said Dan Coulter, MLA for Chilliwack.

Housing with supports and shelter spaces like this “are desperately needed” so more people can get off the streets, Coulter said.

A community advisory committee (CAC) is part of the process if approved, which would bring together project partners and neighbourhood representatives to address any concerns that may arise.

If rezoning is approved, construction is expected to start in late spring or summer 2021.

To date in Chilliwack, BC Housing, with its partners, have opened 108 homes with 24/7 support for people experiencing homelessness in Chilliwack. The supportive housing includes 16 homes for youth (aged 16 to 24) experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Across the Fraser Valley, more than 260 supportive homes are open or underway.

More at: www.letstalkhousingbc.ca/chilliwack-rowat

RELATED: The Portal galvanized community support

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

City of Chilliwackhomeless housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

web
Mission mayoral candidate – Paul Horn

Candidates answer three questions about issues impacting Mission

Patrick Penner photo.
Southbound crash on Abbotsford-Mission Bridge

Crash involves dump truck and at least one other vehicle, emergency crews on scene

web
Mission mayoral candidate – Earl Babich

Candidates answer three questions about issues impacting Mission

CTTV footage released by the Abbotsford Police Department.
Abbotsford Police looking to identify gas station bandit

Man commits 2 robberies in 2 days, makes off with cash and cigarettes

web
Fire breaks out inside Mission Walmart

Customers, staff evacuated as firefighters investigate

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada’s incoming supply of Moderna vaccine slashed in half through end of April

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Most Read