Micro-home project honoured as Project of the Year by provincial association


Published June 6, 2023 at 3:46 pm

The Micro-home Supportive Housing Project on Drew Street in Oshawa, the site of a murder last January, has been honoured by the Ontario Public Works Association as the 2022 Project of the Year Award in the Structures (under $2 million category).

Construction on the Region of Durham project was expedited in the summer of 2020 to help address the needs of unsheltered residents, with the housing problem in Durham and especially in Oshawa particularly acute in the early days of the pandemic as unsheltered residents lost access to supports and shelter space due to closures and capacity limits implemented in response to COVID-19.

The first residents moved into their new homes in March 2022. Ken Chopee, a former Oshawa comic store owner, was found dead in his unit on January 27 of this year. Justin Steeves, 32, was subsequently charged with first degree murder in Chopee’s death.

The housing units are intended to provide a bridge from homelessness to a permanent home and the Durham Region worked with NRB Modular Solutions to develop the design and layout of 10 modular housing units using land in Oshawa the Region owned for a future road widening and realignment project. The use of modular construction techniques allows buildings to be easily and affordably modified or disassembled into components that can be reused or recycled.

“These micro-homes provide unsheltered residents with the support they need to have a place to call home while in the process of obtaining permanent housing,” said Durham Region Housing Services Director Alan Robbins. “By matching the right supports with stable housing, the Region continues to find ways to reach our goal to reduce chronic homelessness in our community.”

Each unit is approximately 300 square feet, and equipped with a cooktop, microwave, refrigerator, washer, dryer, kitchen table and chairs, single bed with mattress and shower curtain, doorbell, mailbox and metal bike ring. Two of the units were built as accessible units. Although the current site is temporary, the Region can efficiently move these units to their permanent location once determined.

“As the Region’s first modular construction project, Regional staff worked very closely with NRB Modular Solutions to see this project come to fruition. The nature of modular construction resulted in less disruption to the neighbourhood and a smaller environmental footprint in comparison to a regular construction project,” said Durham’s Acting Commissioner of Works, Ramesh Jagannathan.

The OPWA Public Works Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consultant/architect/engineer, and the contractor who, working together complete public works projects.

For more information, visit durham.ca/OshawaMicroHomes.

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