Travelers along 1st Avenue in downtown Prince George will notice a crane moving large “Lego blocks” into place as part of the construction of dozens of new supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness. BC Housing is collaborating with the City of Prince George and Northern Health on one of the most significant and innovative housing projects in Northern BC. Together, the partners are adding affordable housing integrated with healthcare services to serve the community’s most vulnerable populations and improve the community, particularly the City’s downtown area.
The first phase of the project, currently underway, involves 50 urgently needed, purpose-built supportive homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This supportive housing will include 24/7 support services such as meal programs, life and employment skills training, and health and wellness supports. Construction of these 50 new supportive homes began in the spring of 2021 and is expected to be completed early next year.
The development and the modules are designed and constructed by Freeport Industries. In order to ensure the fastest possible delivery of these homes, the project is being built using modular construction. According to Freeport, modular construction is very much like constructing a building with Lego. The modules are designed and manufactured in a factory and delivered to the construction site for assembly.
The majority of the modules are designed with two individual rooms with a hallway running down the middle. The rooms are fully finished and furnished and nearly ready for occupancy only requiring electrical and plumbing connections. Amenities such as flooring, cabinets, fixtures, kitchens, and washrooms are fully installed in the factory, as is all furniture for the suite including beds, tables, and chairs.
Following the completion of the first phase of the project, the second project will begin. The second project will consist of two buildings that will provide up to 100 housing units with supports and services to help people recover and stay healthy. The concept includes ground-floor healthcare space in each building that would be accessible to both residents and the public.
Northern Health, in partnership with other health service agencies, will be responsible for overseeing these spaces and providing primary care, harm reduction, and specialized mental health and substance-use services. This innovative project addresses recommendations in Northern Health’s 2017 downtown health services plan.
Visit the Province of BC website to read their most recent announcement about this project from March 2021.