Premier Christy Clark officially opened Sanford Apartments today, a new $22.3-million building providing 62 apartments of supportive housing for people at risk of homelessness in Vancouver.
"Our provincial housing strategy is the most progressive in this country's history," said Premier Clark. "With today's opening of Sanford Apartments, we are celebrating a milestone of completing seven out of 14 supportive housing developments in Vancouver. This would not be possible without strong partnerships including the City of Vancouver and Streetohome Foundation. Collectively, we can make a big difference in the lives of vulnerable British Columbians."
Funding for this project was provided by many partners including:
- The Government of B.C. provided $1 million in pre-development funding, $763,276 for the construction of the community resource centre, and will arrange long-term financing of approximately $15.6 million.
- In addition, the B.C. government will provide $1.1 million annually to MPA Society for support services. The B.C. government will also provide an annual operating subsidy of $553,988 to the Katherine Sanford Housing Society.
- The City of Vancouver provided the land, valued at $3.4 million, and provided levy reductions of $256,893.
- Streetohome Foundation provided approximately $1.24 million.
- Vancouver Coastal Health will provide $250,000 a year in ongoing operational subsidies for enhanced mental health supports.
"Safe and supportive housing is one of the most urgent needs of residents living with mental health challenges, especially for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "Sanford Apartments will provide 62 supportive housing units and a variety of crucial services to many of Vancouver's most vulnerable residents, and represents more significant progress toward our goal of ending street homelessness by 2015."
In addition to the supportive apartments, the new nine-storey tower includes the MPA Community Resource Centre, which provides services and support to the residents, as well as other clients. This community-resource centre includes a kitchen, dining room, social lounges, multipurpose rooms, library, computer room, games and arts room.
"Streetohome is committed to helping ensure that all residents in Vancouver have a safe, secure place to call home," said Rob Turnbull, president & CEO of Streetohome Foundation. "We are proud to have committed $20 million to eight projects under the partnership between the B.C. government and the City of and even prouder to celebrate Sanford Apartments, the first of these to open."
"Housing that is attached to a range of mental-health supports is key to influencing positive life changes for our clients," said Lorna Howes, director-housing, Vancouver Coastal Health. "Sanford Apartments is a good example of what can be accomplished through partnerships to address the issue of homelessness, and build a foundation for continued support and recovery."
Sanford Apartments is managed by the Katherine Sanford Housing Society, while MPA Society manages the Community Resource Centre and provides support services for residents of the building.
"We are so excited to be celebrating the opening of this new supportive housing development," said Bonnie Rice, executive director, Katherine Sanford Housing Society. "Katherine Sanford, the society's namesake, is thrilled that we are working hard to carry on her work of ensuring that all individuals living with mental health challenges in Vancouver have access to safe, supportive homes."
"I'd like to thank all partners who worked tirelessly to ensure that Sanford Apartments became a reality," said Dave MacIntyre, executive director, MPA Society. "This new supportive housing, located in Kitsilano, brings a valuable new option to people who are facing mental health challenges living in this neighbourhood."
Under the provincial housing strategy, Housing Matters BC, the government of B.C. has partnerships with eight communities to build more than 2,300 new units of supportive housing for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in B.C. (Abbotsford, Campbell River, Kelowna, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria). Construction is now underway or complete at many of the 32 housing developments proposed under these municipal partnerships.
In Vancouver, seven of the 14 developments are completed with another three under construction.
In 2011/12, the B.C. government invested approximately $142.6 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 25,800 households in Vancouver. Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $3.2 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 97,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.
The Katherine Sanford Housing Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality supported housing to persons with a mental illness and/or addictions. Visit www.kshs.ca to learn more.
The MPA Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1971 by people experiencing the debilitating effects of mental illness and their supporters. The society is a recognized leader in community mental health service program delivery. Visit www.mpa-society.org to learn more.
Visit www.bchousing.org/Initiatives/Creating/PHI to learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness.
Office of the Premier
City of Vancouver