The province says a series of reports from BC Housing shows its supportive housing projects are “substantially improving the quality of life for residents and reducing their use of emergency health services.”
The reports, compiled by BC Housing in collaboration with the City of Vancouver, the City of Surrey and non-profit housing providers, looked at the first six months of operation at seven supportive housing buildings on the Lower Mainland.
The data, which includes resident surveys, indicates nearly all the residents were still in their homes six months after move-in, 84 per cent reported a improvement in “overall well-being,” 44 per cent said they’ve seen improvements in their mental health, and 39 per cent of those residents with addiction issues also reported improvements.
“We know that it is immensely challenging for people to move forward when they don’t have housing,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson in a release accompanying the reports. “Our housing-first model works, giving people dignity and hope by helping them find and maintain stable homes, improving their quality of life and reducing their use of health and social services in the long term. Importantly, these homes are not only changing the residents’ lives, but they are improving the overall health of their communities.”
The reports come as councillors in Gibsons are preparing for an Oct. 8 public hearing on BC Housing’s proposal for a 40-unit supportive housing project on School Road, which is facing some vocal opposition.
One of the facilities covered in the reports, the Reiderman Residence in Vancouver’s Marpole neighbourhood, faced similar opposition and one group even took the city to court, claiming Vancouver officials failed to properly consult with residents.
Reiderman, which opened in March 2018, houses 77 people – many of them seniors.
The report on Reiderman said 43 per cent of its residents had a prior connection to the neighbourhood before finding housing at the project.
The report also addressed community relations.
The operator, Community Builders Group, hired a tenant community liaison when Reiderman first opened, and the report said, “Staff indicated that the relationship with the wider community has improved over time, and some neighbours now bring donations to the building.”
The report also said, “Sixty-five per cent of [the resident] survey respondents strongly agreed that they have experienced positive interactions with the surrounding community, while 30 per cent somewhat agreed.”
Across the seven facilities included in the reports, 82 per cent of the residents said they’re “experiencing positive interactions” with neighbours.
The Hightide supportive housing project in Sechelt, which is nearing the six-month mark since opening, was not included in the report.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said a final report that looks at outcomes from 13 supportive housing projects province-wide is expected late next year.
You can read the full reports at: https://www.bchousing.org/research-centre/library/transition-from-homelessness/modular-supportive-housing-resident-outcomes