The Province, through BC Housing, has partnered with the Capital Regional District to create new independent housing with supports and shelter spaces on Salt Spring Island.
"This new project will provide permanent safe and secure housing with supports to vulnerable members of the Salt Spring community who have struggled to find a place to live," said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. "This successful collaboration between BC Housing, Capital Regional District, Islands Trust, Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, and Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society shows what we can accomplish when we work together. This outcome means health-care workers have a place to live on the island, and the most vulnerable residents of Salt Spring also have a home. I'm very grateful to everyone who helped us get to this positive outcome."
Located at 161 Drake Rd., the new housing project will provide up to 28 new permanent homes with supports, as well as dedicated shelter and programming space. The project will provide housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the community, including people who are living in Salt Spring's temporary Seabreeze Inne and Fulford-Ganges shelters. Residents will live independently and have access to supports, such as daily meals, laundry, employment support, health supports, harm reduction and community programming.
The Drake Road project will be operated by the Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society, which also operates the Fulford-Ganges shelter. The society will provide supports to residents, based on individual need.
BC Housing and the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation have agreed to extend the lease of the Seabreeze Inne shelter until construction of the Drake Road permanent homes are completed. The shelter's lease was set to expire on Feb. 8, 2022.
To get these homes built as soon as possible, the Province is accelerating the project straight to construction using its authority under the Interpretation Act. This is commonly known as "statutory immunity". The Capital Regional District has expressed its support for this approach.
Site preparation and construction will begin in the coming weeks. The building is expected to open in late summer 2022.
Once the Drake Road project is completed, the most vulnerable residents at the Seabreeze Inne and 268 Fulford-Ganges shelters will be relocated to the new site and both shelter locations will be returned to their owners. BC Housing will also provide rent supplements to shelter guests who are able to live independently and want to rent in the private market.
BC Housing will engage with the public and Drake Road neighbourhood stakeholders in January 2022.
This project is part of B.C.'s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded more than 30,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway for people in B.C., including 78 homes on Salt Spring Island.
The Seebreeze Inne
BC Housing as entered into an agreement with the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation to lease the Seabreeze Inne on a temporary basis. This will provide continued shelter to the people living in the Seabreeze Inne while permanent supportive housing solutions are being created.
BC Housing had previously looked at purchasing the Seabreeze Inne but determined that it did not meet our needs for supportive housing for a number of reasons. Despite their use an interim emergency measure, we know that hotels are not a suitable long-term solution for people experiencing homelessness.
The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation have purchased the site, with the plan to build 14-16 residential rental units, which they have stated is essential to helping to fill the hospitals 31 staff vacancies. While Lady Minto Hospital Foundation work through the design and development stages of their development, they have agreed to lease the site to BC Housing on a short-term basis.
161 Drake Road
In early 2022 BC Housing executed a License Agreement for pre-development works with the Capital Regional District to use some of the lands at 161 Drake Rd to build permanent purpose-built supportive housing. We are working to create long term solutions for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness on Salt Spring Island, we believe this modular project provides the best opportunity for the people we serve.
This development would provide long term housing to many of the people currently living in the Seabreeze Inne and people currently sleeping on mats at the In from the Cold shelter at 268 Fulford-Ganges. This new development will include 28 modular units, not enough to house everyone at the Seabreeze Inne and the In from the Cold shelter. We will work closely with people to identify their individual needs. The most vulnerable will be offered places at 161 Drake Road and we will work to find other housing solutions for those who require fewer supports. We are committed to ensuring that no one ends up back on the streets.
We believe it is important to provide permanent supportive homes as soon as possible for people experiencing homelessness on Salt Spring Island. We will move this development forward as fast as possible using statutory immunity to go straight to the construction phase. Our goal is to have this development ready by summer 2022.
161 Drake Road will be operated by the Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society (SSICS), a local non-profit that has provided a broad range of services and supports to the communities of the Southern Gulf Islands since 1975.