Homeless housing raises ire

A controversial housing complex will soon open in Maple Ridge, and residents are not happy about it.

A complex containing 53 self-contained units will open its doors to area homeless in the coming weeks.

The modular building located at 22534 Royal Cres. will offer support services for residents, and will be operated by Coast Mental Health.

The move comes weeks after a storm tore through a homeless camp that was home to 120 people.

A new, 20-space winter shelter, located at the Maple Ridge Baptist Church, is also expected to open soon.

But both projects have been the subject of complaint and crowds of people have joined protests this year against the housing.

A court injunction stopped protesters from blocking construction of the modular housing site.

The location of the planned housing complexes were also an issue for protesters, as they'd be built a few blocks from an elementary school and down the street from a seniors home.

Debate over the projects grew to the point where Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read briefly went into hiding.

The city has a substantial homeless population, with the latest count estimating 124 people were sleeping on the street or in shelters. Advocates say the estimate is likely conservative.

- with files from CTV Vancouver

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