What is happening at 739-749 School Road?

The Government of Canada is transferring the property at 739-749 School Road, a former RCMP site, to the Town of Gibsons to be used for supportive housing. 

The federal government has directed that this property be used for 40 self-contained studio homes with on-site support for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the community. 

BC Housing will provide funding to build and operate the new housing. RainCity Housing, which has been successfully operating a temporary winter shelter in Gibsons for the past two winters, will operate the supportive housing. 

This property requires amendments to the zoning bylaw and official community plan to move forward with development.

What is supportive housing?

Supportive housing is not a shelter, nor transition housing. Supportive housing is a self-contained studio home with supports provided on-site, to ensure people can achieve and maintain housing stability. 

Supports could include outreach workers, wellness checks, life skills training, employment assistance, connection and referral to community services and support. 

All residents sign a program agreement (similar to a tenancy agreement) and pay rent. Learn more about supportive housing: www.bchousing.org/community-supportive-housing

What do you mean by ‘supports’?

Each resident may require different support; there are a variety of potential support services to assist with their successful tenancy, including daily meals. 

All residents receive individualized case planning to further develop life and social skills such as employment planning and managing the transition to independence and recovery, as well as programming space to facilitate training and food preparation. 

Other services include outreach workers, wellness checks, connection and referral to community services and support groups.

Why was this site chosen?

As part of the transfer of the property from the federal government to the Town of Gibsons, the use of the property was outlined. In general, supportive housing sites are considered with respect to proximity to community services (commercial and recreational activities); accessibility to transit; adequate lot size; connections to utilities; compatible land use policies.

How will input be taken on this project?

In this preliminary phase of planning we would like to invite the community to learn more about what supportive housing is, why it is needed in Gibsons, and to discuss and view preliminary concept designs for the housing. 

While much of the plan was outlined through the transfer from the federal government, there is opportunity for the community to voice interests and concerns.

BC Housing will ensure questions and concerns are addressed through the community discussions and Let’s Talk Housing in Gibsons. A summary report will be provided to the Town of Gibsons and made available for the community to review so we’re all contributing to make this housing project a success.

At this early stage, community members can have influence on the design for the building and exterior areas; specifically, the colour of building and siding materials; the landscaping considerations; the fencing/screening options around perimeter and between sidewalk and street along OShea; the outdoor amenity space; the design of entrance ways. 

BC Housing will then use input to inform the direction of the application package to rezone the property. A community information meeting will be held later this spring, after first reading of the application, so that the community can see how early input affected the design of the building. Key interests will also be addressed at this meeting.
We welcome input and questions to letstalkhousingbc.ca/Gibsons or communityrelations@bchousing.org. You can register to attend a community discussion session. You can attend a community open house. You can submit input directly to the Town of Gibsons or speak at the public hearing.

How would people be selected?

BC Housing and RainCity will collaborate with local service providers on a thoughtful and thorough assessment process with local service providers to ensure an appropriate mix of residents with the right supports live in the housing. 

Every potential resident will be considered on an individual basis to ensure that the housing and services provided by the program match the support services that they need, such as life skills training, employment assistance, and help with accessing a range of social and health care services.

Who would live here?

People who apply to live at the housing will need to meet eligibility requirements around income, risk of homelessness and required supports and programming. Residents will be low-income individuals over the age of 19 who live in the community, have a history of homelessness and who need additional support services to maintain housing. They will be provided support to assist with their successful tenancy, including daily meal services. 

Gibsons residents will have priority. All residents will pay rent. All residents in supportive housing have made a choice to work towards living a healthy, stable life.

What expectations are made of residents?

Like all Gibsons residents, supportive housing resident would be expected to treat neighbours with respect. Staff would work with residents and the neighbours to foster good neighbourhood relations.

Who is going to be responsible for keeping the housing and area clean?

BC Housing and RainCity are committed to be a good neighbour in developing new supportive housing that is an asset to the community. 

Giving people stable housing and access to supports will keep them off the street. 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 neighborhood.

RainCity will develop a Community Advisory Committee to support the successful integration of the new building and residents into the community, with representation that may include BC Housing, Vancouver Coastal Health, the Town of Gibsons, local RCMP, local service providers, local supportive housing resident and a few selected community members at large.

How long will people live here?

This is permanent supportive housing, so many people will reside here permanently and live out their lives in the neighbourhood. 

Others may decide to move into more independent housing; staff can provide support for those making this choice with assisting them in the transition process in viewing potential apartments and liaise with landlords on their behalf.

Who would operate this housing?

RainCity Housing will be responsible for property and operations management, including 24/7 staff on-site. RainCity has been successfully operating the temporary winter shelter in Gibsons for the past two winters and has built relationships with the people who access the shelter and outreach services. 

RainCity provides innovative, outcome-oriented programs and services for people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness, across the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast.

When will construction start and when will people move in?

If the application to rezone the property is successful, we anticipate that site preparation work will begin as early as Fall 2019, with occupancy in Spring 2020.

Is this going to be a shelter? How will this be different from what is on Gower Point Road?

Shelters, like the temporary winter shelter operating at 599 Gower Point Road, provide access to a temporary bed or mat. The primary focus for shelters is to bring people indoors to get warm, access food and get the support they need to move into housing. 

The temporary shelter on Gower Point Road operates only during the winter months, closing by March 31. Supportive housing, in contrast, provides a permanent home as well as 24/7 on-site support services. 

People who live in supportive housing must apply and go through a thorough assessment process. If they are selected, they will sign a program agreement and pay rent for their home.