The Blood Ties Four Directions Centre is moving ahead with plans for a five-unit tiny home development downtown.
At Monday’s city council meeting, Patricia Bacon, Blood Ties’ executive director, addressed council on the zoning change the group is seeking.
The change would allow the group to place five tiny houses on its recently purchased property at Jarvis Street and Sixth Avenue, and waive a requirement for
indoor or secured bicycle storage.
If the zoning amendment isn’t granted, the group will move forward with a four-unit development on the site as is currently permitted on the Residential
Downtown zoned lot.
Bacon recalled the four years the group operated the Steve Cardiff House downtown from 2012 to 2016.
The land was provided by the owner until last year, when the property owner decided to move ahead with plans to develop the lot.
The house has since been moved to storage, “where it rests still.” It would be moved out of storage to the new site for the new development.
Under Blood Ties’ program, tenants would be provided with supports with rent based on income.
Bacon also emphasized the program – which follows a housing-first model – would not take away from the private rental market.
The clients are those who are precariously housed, generally struggle to find housing, and require supports to keep that shelter.
“There is a need,” she said, also pointing out that there won’t be a time limit on how long residents can stay in their units.
The site will be designed “to feel like a community,” Bacon said.
While the organization had set a one-year time limit for those who lived at the Steve Cardiff House, Bacon said, it put a lot of pressure on residents.
Often, the clients’ health issues are serious, and that one year is spent just getting to a stable place.
The group learned from its experience with the house that it’s better to not put a time limit on how long clients can live in the home.
Rather, the best way to support clients is not to set a time limit as long as the client is continuing to work on his or her program.
Bacon noted the zoning amendment to allow five tiny homes rather than four would allow Blood Ties a little financial “wiggle room”.
That way, it could pay back the loans for the land and continue offering its programs to help those experiencing homelessness, poverty and health issues.
The proposal to waive the bike storage requirement comes due to the limited space for a larger bike storage structure as well as the potential for vandalism.
Council won’t vote on first reading until next week, but it appears a number of members support the initiative.
“I’m really excited about the whole concept,” said Coun. Betty Irwin.
Others commented that they’re pleased the group has found a way to bring back the tiny homes program and that they understand the value and need for the
If first reading is approved next week, a public hearing would be held in the new year at council’s Jan. 15 session.
An administrative report to council on the input gathered would follow on Jan. 22, with second and third readings then happening on Jan. 29.
The Steve Cardiff House is named after the Yukon NDP MLA who died in a traffic accident in July 2011 near Lewes Lake.