A new housing development for men and women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness has opened in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.
Union Gospel Mission's new $29-million shelter and housing development, at 601 East Hastings Street, has 82 shelter beds in five large rooms, 37 studio housing apartments and 64 supported-recovery apartments. The six-storey building includes a drop-in centre, a commercial kitchen, a dining room, training rooms and meeting space, and is designed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards.
The Province provided a $5-million grant and $7.1 million in construction financing. The City of Vancouver waived development cost levies estimated at $420,000. Union Gospel Mission provided land valued at $3.8 million and raised $7.25 million through generous donations from community partners and private donors - including $1.14 million provided by building contractors. The Province will also provide an annual operating subsidy for the building.
Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing -
"This partnership project will give Union Gospel Mission the ability to help more people in the community to regain their lives, their independence and their future. The Province supports developments like this one. This is safe, affordable housing provided with dignity, respect and the supports needed to help people through remarkable challenges in their life."
Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver -
"Union Gospel Mission provides incredible support for our community, and this new building will be a big asset for some of our most vulnerable citizens in the Downtown Eastside. The combination of shelter and supportive housing options is critical for helping people off the streets and rebuilding their lives, and the City is proud to partner on this project to help make it happen."
Bill Mollard, president, Union Gospel Mission -
"Our new East Hastings St. building is the largest expansion in our history. It will help to effectively address the rising need for housing and support services in the Downtown Eastside. We are blessed that our government and community partnerships see the need and have stepped up to the plate to help invest in changing our Downtown Eastside community for the better."
* There are currently over 600 year-round shelter beds available in Vancouver, receiving annual provincial funding of nearly $17 million. Most are now open 24/7 to offer better services and access to more permanent forms of housing and support.
* The Province has a partnership with the City of Vancouver to build more than 1,530 new supportive housing units on 14 sites in the city for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Seven sites are under construction or complete - with 570 units scheduled to open by the end of 2011.
* Over the last decade, the provincial government has committed to build more than 21,600 new units of social housing - from supportive housing for the homeless to affordable rentals for individuals, seniors and families with lower incomes. More than 19,000 have been completed or are in development, and another 1,866 have funding committed.
* Union Gospel Mission has been reaching hungry, hurting and homeless men, women, youth and children for nearly 70 years. Through its eight locations in Metro Vancouver and the District of Mission, UGM provides counselling, education, safe housing, and alcohol and drug recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction.
* Visit www.bchousing.org/breakingthecycle to learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness.
* Visit www.ugm.ca to learn more about Union Gospel Mission's programs and services offered to support community members of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect