New operator sought for Alouette Heights

Alouette Heights opened its doors in October 2012.  - TIMES files
Alouette Heights opened its doors in October 2012.
— image credit: TIMES files

Alouette Home Start Society will no longer operate Alouette Heights as of Jan. 1, 2017.

And BC Housing is currently seeking a new operator for the supportive housing facility.

In September, the society gave BC Housing its 120-day notice to discontinue its operating agreement for Alouette Heights Supportive Housing, located on 22207 Brown Ave., BC Housing officials told The TIMES.

Currently, Alouette Heights serves as a 45-unit community of studio apartments for tenants who live in, or have connections to, the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows area, and who need affordable housing and support services.

BC Housing most recently provided the Alouette Home Start Society with approximately $911,000 in funding for 20 rent supplements through the homeless outreach program, 40 rent supplements through the homeless prevention program, and Alouette Heights.

The society has been operating the housing facility since its inception in October 2012.

Following the society’s decision, BC Housing issued an Expression of Interest on its bidding websites.

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, the crown corporation invited non-profits to bid on taking over operations of the site, as well as community outreach programs, with a deadline of Friday, Oct. 28.

“In addition to the support provided to the tenants, the service provider will be required to deliver homeless outreach services within the community,” the Expression of Interest form states.

The new operator is anticipated to take over operations Jan. 1, BC Housing officials said.

Word of the society backing out of its agreement came as good news to Maple Ridge City Councillor Gordy Robson.

“It is an extremely good thing,” he said.

“Alouette Heights hasn’t been operating for the use of it’s clients.”

When asked if the service provider of the proposed shelter should be the same of Alouette Heights, Robson said “continuity wouldn’t be bad.”

However, Robson – who's spoke in the past on his disinterest in RainCity Housing operating the proposed shelter – doesn't want to see the service provider taking over the society's role.

RainCity Housing operating Alouette Heights would be “a step in the wrong direction,” he noted.

“I’ll do anything in my power to not let that happen.”

The Alouette Home Start Society has not responded to request for comment.

City to help choose new operator

Once the proposal deadline closes this Friday, representatives from BC Housing, the City of Maple Ridge, and Fraser Health will review the submissions “and select the most appropriate operator,” BC Housing officials said.

“We will also work with the Alouette Home Start Society to ensure a smooth transition of services to other non-profit operators,” officials said.

“There will be no interruption to services for tenants, and supports for homeless individuals will continue to be available.”

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