CUMBERLAND, B.C. – The future for vulnerable people in Port Alberni is being built in Cumberland.

On Wednesday, politicians and dignitaries including B.C. housing minister Selina Robinson toured the Muchalat Group’s manufacturing plant in Cumberland, where modular homes are being built to house the homeless and vulnerable in Port Alberni.

Port Alberni Shelter Society executive director Wes Hewitt said when complete, the facility will have many facets.

“The shelter of this facility is for people that are homeless; the supportive housing portion of it are for people we move… out of the shelter into supportive housing if that’s appropriate for them,” Hewitt said.

Once complete, the building will be transported by truck from Cumberland to Port Alberni.

The supportive housing units and shelter spaces are expected to open in December.

B.C. housing minister Selina Robinson looked on as K’ómoks First Nation Elder Donna Mitchell spoke during a press conference at the
Muchalat Group’s manufacturing plant in Cumberland.
Troy Landreville photo/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio

On June 26, B.C.’s municipal affairs and housing ministry announced the project at 3939-8th Ave. in Port Alberni will have 30 self-contained housing units and five shelter spaces that will sleep up to four people per unit at an estimated cost to the province of $7.4 million.

There will also be a multi-purpose wet-weather room for additional extreme weather shelter spaces during winter months.
The Port Alberni Shelter Society will operate the building.

The province says staff will be on site around the clock to provide services such as meal programs and life and employment skills training along with health and wellness support.

Hewitt said the ground floor will contain the kitchen, support area, and shelter portion of the building.

The second storey of the building includes the 30 housing units.

B.C. housing minister Selina Robinson spoke during a short press conference at the plant, hosted by Cumberland mayor Leslie Baird.

“I know modular homes that are being constructed right here will be a blessing for so many people,” Robinson said. “People who are desperate and in need of a home – a secure home, one that is safe, and one where they can have dignity.”

Robinson reminded the workers that they are not just building homes, “but building hope.”