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VANOC, province partner on homeless project

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This week the province and Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games announced an agreement that would reconfigure 320 temporary housing units in the Whistler athletes’ village into 156 permanent affordable housing units.

After the Games the modular units will be reconfigured with bathrooms and kitchens, and sent to six communities, Chetwynd, Chilliwack, Enderby, Saanich, Sechelt and Surrey.

It took two years to finalize the Memorandum of Understanding between the province and VANOC.

The temporary housing will be purchased for approximately $18.2 million, with VANOC providing $9.4 million and additional support from Olympic sponsors Rona, Britco, and others making up the difference. Post-Games, the province will contribute $20 million to relocate and reconfigure the units, as well as to provide sites in the participating communities. The communities themselves will provide the land for free, which has an estimated value of $5.4 million.

Broken down over 156 homes, the cost per unit is roughly $275,000.

The design of the units will be agreed upon by the province, VANOC and local partners, and will be designed to high standards in energy efficiency and environmental impact. Through B.C. Housing, the province will be working with non-profit housing association in some of the communities, while issuing an invitation to other non-profit housing groups to submit proposal for the communities that don’t have housing programs.

• In Chetwynd there will be four to eight units of single storey housing for low income seniors.

• In Chilliwack there will be approximately 40 units of affordable housing in a three-storey format that will be offered to people that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

• In Enderby, on the site of the former hospital, there will be approximately 16 units of single-storey affordable housing for seniors.

• In Saanich, the site will feature approximately 36 units in a three-storey format for people that are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

• In Sechelt there will be approximately eight units of affordable housing in a two-storey format for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

• In Surrey there will be approximately 48 units of affordable housing for people who are homeless or at risk.

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