235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year, around 5 million live below the poverty line, and demographic trends show that the proportion of seniors and the number of students in the population is expected to continue increasing. This staggering data explains why all levels of government are committed to providing more affordable housing for Canadians in need.
In British Columbia, home to the country’s most expensive housing market (Vancouver), and a significant homeless and low-income population, over $7 billion dollars has been budgeted over the next 10 years to create a range of safe affordable housing in communities across the province.
Across Canada, the need for affordable housing is particularly palpable in cities, where higher concentrations of people, higher costs of living, limited space and already high displacement numbers create a unique challenge that requires innovative solutions.
How can modular construction help?
Rapid Response: As governments and affordable housing developers work to address housing needs as quickly and efficiently as possible, modular construction offers the benefit of reducing construction times by 30 to 50 per cent, with no reduction in quality. Rapid access to housing is especially important for homeless or vulnerable individuals because it can drastically reduce the amount of time they spend displaced and help them to rebuild their lives more effectively.
Permanent structures: Modular buildings are manufactured in a controlled environment and undergo a rigorous quality control process, both of which ensure best-in-class materials. With the ability to set modules on a permanent foundation and a final structure that is virtually indistinguishable from a conventional build, the building can be designed to fit in with the style of the neighbourhood, providing a space for residents to call home indefinitely.
Temporary solutions: Land that has been allotted for structures that will be built far in the future or that cannot accommodate a permanent foundation can still be used to address pressing housing needs. Modular buildings can, if necessary, be placed on a temporary site and then redeployed to a different location at a later date so that any future plans can proceed unimpeded.
Our projects in focus
Horizon North has been working with provincial and municipal government agencies in British Columbia to build innovative housing solutions that meet the need for affordable housing across the province.
Vancouver: In May 2016, the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) selected Horizon North to complete Vancouver’s first temporary modular housing project. After the completion of that project, the Government of British Columbia made a commitment to funding up to 600 temporary-modular affordable housing units on underused or vacant sites across Vancouver. Horizon North has since entered into several contracts with VAHA to design, manufacture and install the necessary structures. Five projects are already complete, with tenants who call them home.
Kamloops: Horizon North will design, build and install two modular buildings in Kamloops. The proposed 58-unit and 48-unit structures are to be completed in the first half of 2019. They will be run by not-for-profit organizations in the city to ensure that residents are also receiving adequate support services.
Kelowna: Horizon North will construct a 46-unit modular housing project for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna. The building, which is slated to open later in 2018, will provide support for individuals who are dealing with mental health and addiction issues.
Horizon North is proud to be a trusted partner in efforts to provide affordable housing to those who otherwise have difficulty finding a place to call home.