Renovations are in progress to convert the former remand centre into 96 units of affordable housing for low-income individuals in Vancouver. Funding for the building is being provided by the governments of Canada and British Columbia, along with community organizations.
"The Government of Canada is helping to make affordable housing available in British Columbia and across the country," said Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development). "Youth and individuals in our community will be able to access affordable rental housing and services to support them in their lives at home."
"The building is being given a new life and a new purpose," said Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for Housing. "It will become a place for 96 individuals to access the housing and supports they need to create a better life. For the neighbourhood, it's another investment that will bring new affordable housing to the community."
The governments of Canada and B.C. will provide a combined investment of over $1.3 million through the Federal-Provincial Housing initiative, under the Canada-B.C. Investment in Affordable Housing 2011-2014 Agreement. The B.C. government will contribute an additional $15.2 million. The City of Vancouver is providing a $2-million grant and $890,578 in waived development cost charges.
"This project is a strong example of the kind of innovative partnerships that are successfully getting more affordable housing built in Vancouver and providing crucial support to many of our most vulnerable and marginalized residents," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "These renovations to the former Vancouver Remand Centre at 250 Powell will help meet Vancouver's goal of ending street homelessness by 2015 by providing 96 new units of affordable housing for low-income residents, with a special focus on Aboriginal youth at risk."
Located at 250 Powell St., the renovated building will be managed and operated by The Bloom Group in partnership with BladeRunners. Of the 96 units, 59 units will be for low-income individuals and the other 37 will be designated for at-risk Aboriginal youth participating in the BladeRunners' trades training employment program.
"For over 50 years, The Bloom Group has provided progressive housing and support solutions for vulnerable individuals and families in Vancouver," said Jonathan Oldman, executive director of The Bloom Group. "250 Powell is a wonderful new development that offers affordable housing for a range of lower income and vulnerable households. It will be a tremendous contribution to the growth and sustainability of our local Downtown Eastside community."
"ACCESS BladeRunners is proud to partner alongside like-minded organizations like The Bloom Group and our project partners to support and strengthen the independent living standards of those in need and at-risk youth," said Tom Galway, director, BladeRunners. "This project truly exemplifies our organization's vision because some of our BladeRunners participants helping with renovations at this building will also one day call this building home when the project completes."
This project is funded under the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) 2011-2014 Agreement between the governments of Canada and British Columbia. In March 2014, the agreement was renewed, with both levels of government contributing $150 million each to support affordable housing programs for B.C. residents.
Annually, the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), will invest approximately $2 billion in housing. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of close to 600,000 households living in existing social housing.
In British Columbia, this represents an estimated 68,050 households. The remaining funding supports housing-related activities and affordable housing programs, including the Investment in Affordable Housing. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.
Economic Action Plan 2013 continues this commitment with a federal investment of more than $1.25 billion over five years to renew the Investment in Affordable Housing to 2019. The Government of Canada will ensure that funds provided to provinces and territories support the use of apprentices, which will support training of skilled labour. Close to 177,600 households across Canada are no longer in housing need as a result of funding provided under the IAH from April 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2013.
To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1 800 668-2642 or visit: www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca
Since 2001, the Government of B.C. has invested $3.6 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 98,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services. To find out more, visit: www.bchousing.org
A backgrounder follows.
Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada
250 Powell Street
The former remand centre building, located at 250 Powell St. in Vancouver, was originally built in 1981 and closed in 2002. The renovations will provide 96 units of affordable housing for low-income individuals, including 37 units designated for at-risk Aboriginal youth participating in the BladeRunners' trades training employment program. A community garden and a multi-purpose amenity space will also be added to the property.
Renovations are estimated to be completed by spring 2015.
Partners and Funding:
The total cost of the project is approximately $19.4 million.
- The governments of Canada and B.C. will provide a combined investment of $1.3 million through the Federal-Provincial Housing initiative, under the Investment in Affordable Housing.
- The Government of B.C. will contribute an additional $15.2 million.
- The City of Vancouver will provide a $2-million grant and $890,578 in waived development cost charges.
The Bloom Group
The Bloom Group (formerly St. James Community Service Society) was formed over 50 years ago with the mandate of building resilient communities. The organization delivers services and promotes collaborative efforts that enable vulnerable people to live their lives as fully as possible, on their own terms: those who face homelessness, poverty and isolation, mental illness, addictions and terminal illness.
Established in 1994, BladeRunners was founded with the purpose of matching construction industry needs with employment opportunities for inner city at-risk youth. BladeRunners offers its clients basic training designed to facilitate entry into the labour force, connecting them with job placement opportunities throughout B.C.
The BladeRunners program currently is managed throughout most of B.C. by the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) on behalf of the Province of B.C. with funding through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.
The Bloom Group
City of Vancouver