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A homeless man in Abbotsford, B.C., in 2013, near where chicken manure was unloaded to drive off a camp’s residents. (Jeff Vinnick For The Globe and Mail)
A homeless man in Abbotsford, B.C., in 2013, near where chicken manure was unloaded to drive off a camp’s residents. (Jeff Vinnick For The Globe and Mail)

B.C.

Abbotsford reviews plans for cabin village for homeless residents Add to ...

The City of Abbotsford is taking another look at a plan to house the homeless in a village of tiny cabins.

City officials brushed off the idea when it was first proposed several years ago, but Jeff Gruban with the Abbotsford Dignitarian Society said attitudes are changing.

“We’ve applied for a temporary-use permit which gives us the legal authority to set up those cabins. That application is before the city and they are reviewing it,” he said.

The change was likely prompted by overflowing shelters and a B.C. Supreme Court decision allowing the homeless to sleep in parks overnight if no shelter spaces are available, said Gruban.

He’s confident he can win the support of housing and health authorities, as well as the homeless, themselves.

“We have three people who are currently homeless on our board of directors. We have been very close with the people we’re intending to serve. We have taken a lot of people down to our location, ” said Gruban.

“The people who I’ve spoken to love it.”

Gruban said if the society’s application for a temporary-use permit is approved, a 40-cabin village could be set up within a month, complete with a dining hall and shared washrooms.

He expects residents could begin moving into the single-bed cabins by early summer on a two acre lot near Highway 11, about two kilometres from the downtown core, on the east side of the Fraser Valley city.

The plans are much like a village already operating in Portland, Ore., but Gruban said the Abbotsford cabin village would be the first in Canada.

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