I believe in the concept of housing first and supportive housing. I do however have several questions and concerns.
1. Several times it has been asked whether Raincity will be moving people from other areas of the Mainland to the Sunshine Coast to utilize the 40 unit supportive housing facility in Gibsons and the facility in Sechelt. The responses I have seen have indicated that RainCity is already running a shelter in Gibsons and the majority of the likely residents at the supportive housing unit have a connection to the Sunshine Coast. My follow up questions are:
a. Are these individuals already resident in Gibsons?
b. If not what type of connections are you referring to with the Coast? Will they have appropriate community support from friends/family?
c. If there is not sufficient need in Gibsons will you be leaving the rooms vacant or will you be moving individuals to Gibsons to fill the spaces.
2. The size of the facility is concerning for a small town which has relatively few community services. I understand in Canada there are approximately 200,000 people who experience homelessness at some point in the year and that on any given night 30,000 people are without a place to sleep. This represents about 1/2 of a percent of the Canadian population at 200,000. With a 40 unit facility in the town of Gibsons it would appear that the community has a need equating to almost 1%.
Recognizing when asked previously about the size of the facility the response has been that the land supports a facility of this size.
a. Why is there a need for such a large facility in a small community.
b. What assurances has the town received with respect to ongoing funding from the Provincial and Federal Government to provide the necessary support to the town to ensure adequate services are available - ambulance, medical, mental health and police. Studies do indicate those who have experienced homelessness often have complex needs and that community services are more involved.
c. What assurances does the town have that RainCity will continue to be well funded in the long term to ensure this facility is well run.
d. What actions can the town take should b and c not occur.
3. Given the difficult finding qualified employees on the Sunshine Coast what assurances does the town have that the facility will be adequately staffed at inception and ongoing?
a. Will the number of residents be reduced if the required ratio of staff to residents can not be met?
b. What actions can the town take should this not be the case?
Thank you in advance for your response.
1a. Yes, we expect that most of the applicants would be
people currently living in Gibsons.
1b. Connection refers to having lived in Gibsons in the
past; having family or social networks in Gibsons. Supportive housing provides
connection to community support.
1c. We expect that there would be sufficient need in Gibsons
and the surrounding communities to fill all units.
2a. The 200,000 statistic that you reference appears to be
from a 2013 study by the Canadian Homelessness Research network. The report,
and media coverage about the report note that this statistic is a minimum
number and that the actual number of people living homeless in Canada is likely
much higher given that many people who are unhoused are hidden, and difficult
to count. The hidden homeless may be sleeping on boats, in forests, in
abandoned buildings, or couch-surfing. BC Housing relies not just on national
studies but on reports from people currently working on the Sunshine Coast with
homeless individuals, including non-profit housing providers and shelter
operators, health care professionals, and police. These people, who have on the
ground experience in Gibsons, inform BC Housing that there is a need that
currently exists in Gibsons for Supportive Housing. BC Housing’s efforts are to
meet that need, therefore we have determined that 40 units is suitable for this
location. Furthermore, its use and density have been directed by the federal
government’s Contribution Agreement. 40 units are what is needed to help the
current number of people living homeless in Gibsons. The Gibsons Outreach Team
regularly interacts with approximately 35 people without homes or precariously
from the evaluation of the first seven modular supportive housing developments
built by the Government of British Columbia since 2017 show improvements for
residents in many areas of their lives, including improved health and reduced
use of emergency services. [link to report: https://www.bchousing.org/research-centre/library/transition-from-homelessness/modular-supportive-housing-resident-outcomes]
Additionally, the folks who would be moving into the development at 749 School
Road are already living here in the community and accessing the various social
services they require. Accordingly, we don’t expect an increased demand for
2c. BC Housing is committed to providing long-term
supportive housing in Gibsons; this includes operating expenses for a
non-profit housing provider.
2d. There will be ongoing communication between community
partners to ensure the long-term success of this new supportive housing, should
it proceed. The property lease between the Town and BC Housing would include
provisions to require that the land be used for supportive housing, with the
lease ending if this condition were not met.
3a. The new supportive housing would be adequately staffed.
3b. There will be ongoing communication between
community partners to ensure the long-term success of this new supportive
housing, should it proceed.
I’ve seen supportive housing residents in Surrey rarely in their 200 sq.ft unit and instead wreaking havoc in the common areas around them, such as fields and schools. This makes sense as no one stays in a tiny room all day. How will you ensure residents don’t enter school grounds, use drugs in public, or leave needles and condoms in areas like the elementary school field? Will school staff need to check the field and common grounds for these dangers from the night before or use by supportive housing residents over the weekend?
The proposed building has both interior and exterior amenity
spaces, in addition to the studio apartments. Residents of supportive housing
meet with staff to work on individualized case planning, including their goals
for employment and education. Some people experiencing or at risk of
homelessness are regularly employed and therefore not on the property during
We would develop a community specific Good Neighbour
Agreement in collaboration with our partners and Community Advisory Committee,
to successfully integrate the new housing into the neighbourhood. We have
developed a good working relationship with the Gibsons Elementary School
administration and Parent Advisory Committee, who are supportive of this
proposal and if approved, will work with us towards making this a successful
project. The Gibsons Elementary School PAC has provided comments through the
Gibsons Elementary School Principal, and requested that “the principal and a
parent rep is on the [CAC]” and that “school grounds are ‘out of bounds’ from
8-4 as we learn to connect with each other, this would lessen, as many
community people walk through our school grounds during the day.”
Residents would sign a Program
Agreement, which would be finalized by RainCity prior to the building opening.
The Program Agreement includes but is not limited to expectations around guest
management, health and cleanliness standards, safety and security, and includes
the ‘Good Neighbour’ addendum. We are sharing a sample program agreement in the
Document Library on this site. Both
staff and residents will be committed to keeping the property and neighborhood
maintained with a daily clean-up, just as any other resident in the
I am deeply concerned about this as a mother of children who will attend the elementary school.
My own mother is in supportive housing, and while I am in favour of the concept, I do not support the location being next to vulnerable children. With first hand experience of supportive housing, I am painfully aware that there are many residents who have substance abuse problems and mental illness. While of course this is not true of all residents in supportive housing, it is indeed true of many. Growing up in this housing I was exposed to too many incidents of alcohol and drug abuse, vulgar speech, drug deals, fights, and violence. It affected my sister and I in many ways, and in some incidents we feared for our safety. Our childhood was cut short by the reality of the people and behaviours we were exposed to in our supportive housing.
Without this housing we of course would have been in more dire circumstances as our mother was very poor. However, this does not mean it is prudent or wise to place supportive housing next to an elementary school. It is in my educated opinion, reckless. I fear that my children would be exposed to erratic behaviour and potentially even have their safety threatened by the unnecessarily close proximity to supportive housing.
Let me be clear. I support supportive housing. I do not support this location. I speak from experience. And I speak as a mother who does not want history to repeat itself. Teachers and school staff are not security personnel, and they should not be expected to protect children from unexpected behaviours of people who can pose harm to themselves in the presence of children, or to those around them. This is not an elitist perspective, in fact, this is from a woman who grew up poor, living in supportive housing herself, with first hand experience living among various residents, some wonderful people, others deeply troubled and dangerous. Some are indeed unstable, and are indeed a threat to the physical and emotional safety of children. It is not all sunshine and rainbows. I have seen drug use. I have seen alcohol abuse. I have seen rape. I have seen violence. I have seen and heard fights that scared me. My sister and I have cried while holding each other, afraid of what was happening next door. I have seen more police officers in my childhood than any one of my peers who lived in different neighbourhoods. This is not fair to our children. Please, do not do this.
This is a reckless and unsafe option. I will not send my children to Gibson’s elementary if this is approved, and I would urge other parents to reconsider where they send their children to school if this location is approved. I will gladly share my experiences to help inform those who are unfamiliar with supportive housing.
Yes, provide supportive housing. No, do not put it next to an elementary school. Please, understand the reality of this decision and think again. This is just poor planning, poor decision making, and poor judgement.
We’re sorry to hear about the experiences your family has had. BC Housing takes the security and safety of residents, staff and the surrounding community seriously.
The majority of BC Housing’s Supportive Housing buildings are located near schools, as schools are located in residential neighbourhoods. The type of housing proposed for 749 School Road is for 40 studio apartments with on-site supports for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. RainCity Housing would manage the building 24/7. Residents would sign a Program Agreement, which would be finalized by the RainCity prior to the building opening. The Program Agreement includes but is not limited to expectations around guest management, health and cleanliness standards, safety and security, and includes a ‘Good Neighbour’ addendum. We are sharing a sample program agreement in the Document Library on this site.
In addition we would develop a community specific Good Neighbour Agreement in collaboration with our partners and Community Advisory Committee, to successfully integrate the new housing into the neighbourhood. We have developed a good working relationship with the Gibsons Elementary School administration and Parent Advisory Committee, who are supportive of this proposal and if approved, will work with us towards making this a successful project. The Gibsons Elementary School PAC has provided comments through the Gibsons Elementary School Principal, and requested that “the principal and a parent rep is on the [CAC]” and that “school grounds are ‘out of bounds’ from 8-4 as we learn to connect with each other, this would lessen, as many community people walk through our school grounds during the day.”
Supportive housing follows an evidence based and internationally demonstrated Housing First model, which aims to end chronic homelessness by first providing stable housing, and then working with the resident to promote recovery and well being. Supportive housing works to lessen the impact issues have by providing a safe environment where medical intervention is readily available. Building staff and partners like Vancouver Coastal Health provide ongoing guidance, encouragement and support to individuals living in supportive housing.
I am writing to express that I am NOT in support of this LOW BARRIER facility being built 100 meters from an elementary school in the middle of a residential neighbourhood.
Please look up the definition of Low barrier as it seems to be excluded from the responses on here. I tried to copy and paste the definition but this site said it was spam and wouldn't post it. More censorship.
The majority of BC Housing’s Supportive Housing buildings
are located near schools, as schools are located in residential neighbourhoods.
We have developed a good working relationship with the Gibsons Elementary
School administration and Parent Advisory Committee, who are supportive of this
proposal and if approved, will work with us towards making this a successful
For more information about supportive housing is and the
terms we use to describe it, please visit: www.bchousing.org/partner-services/public-engagement/supportive-housing-in-community
We do not exclude someone from housing opportunities if they
live with a substance misuse issue. Those experiencing homelessness in Gibsons
suffer a wide range of challenges that may or may not include dependence to
drugs and alcohol. It is important to acknowledge that dependence to drugs and
alcohol can be a result of experiencing homelessness. Supportive housing
follows an evidence based and internationally demonstrated Housing First model,
which aims to end chronic homelessness by first providing stable housing, and
then working with the resident to promote recovery and well being. Supportive
housing works to lessen the impact issues have by providing a safe environment
where medical intervention is readily available. Building staff and partners
like Vancouver Coastal Health provide ongoing guidance, encouragement and
support to individuals living in supportive housing. Our experience is that once a person
experiencing homelessness is housed, they are committed to taking this next
step in their lives and they work hard to not lose their housing.
I am again expressing my strong support for this project. Many people don't seem to understand that the town does not have the permission from the federal government to sell the proposed lot and use that money to buy an alternate lot. If the town were to sell the lot the money would revert back to the federal government which was the agreement they were given. This project is a gift for our community to do something concrete about the homeless. The "supported" in supported housing means the site will be staffed by professionals and there won't be addicts shooting up on the corner as some people fear. I think we would probably all be surprised by how many alcoholics live in "respectable" homes within a 1 km radius from this project right now in our little community.
Thank you for your support of this proposal.
Public Hearing for the application at School Road will be held on October 17 at
6:00pm at the Gibsons Royal Canadian Legion, 747 Gibsons Way.
I recently have lost my place & is in slight need of help.
Atm I’m just employed with labour unlimited.
I would like to know what background the staff that work at these facilities have?I know the one is sechelt employs people with no background in mental health at all.Just friends or family of the manager.
Staff who work in supportive housing have the appropriate training,
experience and skills necessary to support the residents. The role of the
24/7 on-site staff is to support residents and connect them with appropriate
community services, including Vancouver Coastal Health. The required
training, as required by BC Housing, includes, but is not limited to crisis
prevention training; First Aid/CPR; mental health first aid training;
domestic violence and safety planning; substance use awareness and safety training;
and trauma-informed training.
RainCity is an experienced and professional non-profit operator who
ensures their staff have the appropriate key skills, abilities and
This proposal is for long term housing solution. Can raincity or bc housing change the program and have some temporary shelters or a winter shelter or a safe injection site or anything like that?
Government of Canada transferred the property to the Town of Gibsons, the
conditions included the use of the property for supportive housing. The
proposal is to build studio apartments with onsite indoor and outdoor amenity
space for the residents. Drop-in services would not be provided at this
residential building. Shelter use is not accommodated through this design. Any
change in program, which is not envisioned, would be subject to review by the
Town of Gibsons and the Government of Canada.
affordable homes, including what is proposed for School Road, is a priority for
BC Housing. Shelters are an essential service while the province is
experiencing high rates of homelessness, but it is more effective to provide a
home to people than to temporarily shelter them. Once people have a home, they
are no longer homeless. The housing proposed would be a long-term home for many
of its residents, with the goal of eventually eliminating the need for shelter
services in the community.
I am asking that BC Housing withdraw their request for rezoning the property located at 749 School Road in Gibsons. This is another very controversial project which is tearing our little town apart. Most people in Gibsons are very kind, compationate and support housing the homeless. However, this location was not well thought out by the previous Town Council. It is too close to the elementary school, on the corner of a busy intersection surrounded by single family residences. There is no yard to speak of and no ajoining green belt. Surely the new town council should be offered the opportunity to find different location which would be more suitable to the neighborhood and the Supportive Housing residents. I beg you to withdraw your request for rezoning and allow the present mayor of Gibsons the time and opportunity to work with his constituents to select a more suitable property for Low Barrier Supportive Housing in Gibsons. Thank you for your consideration.
749 School Road is the location being proposed. The land was donated to
the Town specifically for this purpose. In addition, there is no other
available property. The site is suitable for homes with supports. BC Housing
will not be withdrawing the application.
Is bc housing open to the idea of an alternative location? The current one is highly problematic and may not be appropriate due to the density and location proposed.
Road is the location being proposed. The land was donated to the Town specifically
for this purpose. In addition, there is no other available property. The site
is suitable for homes with supports.
When considering supportive housing locations, BC Housing looks for land
that is close to transit, amenities and community services including health
services, commercial and recreational activities. Many people who are
experiencing homelessness have been living in isolation and may lack connection
to their community. One of the goals of supportive housing is to help residents
engage with their surrounding community and build a sense of belonging, so we
intentionally consider locations that have an established community.
The medium density
proposed for the site aligns with the current designation of one of the two
site lots in the Town’s Official Community Plan; medium density is the
long-term intention of the Town for this lot, regardless of the current
proposal. Sites along School Road share this medium density vision.