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154-unit building breaks ground in Vancouver’s West End

September 29, 2023 at 12:36 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Families, seniors and individuals, including people living with HIV/AIDS, in Vancouver will soon have access to 154 new affordable rental homes as construction starts on a major new housing project.

The project is the result of a $91-million partnership between the Province, the Government of Canada and the City of Vancouver. 

“This project is a great example of the rental housing our government is working in partnership to build, so people can live affordably in the community they call home, close to the services and care they rely on,” said Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s Minister of Housing. “I am thankful to all levels of government, along with our many community partners, for their partnership to help make this building a reality.”  

The new mass-timber building will be centrally located in the heart of Vancouver’s Davie Village at 981 Davie St. Designed to meet Passive House standards, the 17-storey development will include a mix of rental units for people with low to moderate incomes and a new home for the QMUNITY Resource Centre on the first two floors. QMUNITY is a non-profit organization that works to improve queer, transgender and Two-Spirit lives.

“By building and securing 154 new affordable homes for families, seniors and people living with low and modest incomes, we help build a healthier community in the West End and downtown,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End. “This project also helps fulfil a longtime dream for a home for QMUNITY, B.C.’s 2SLGBTQIA+ resource centre, while providing dedicated housing for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. This is a good day for our community.”

QMUNITY offers programs and support services, such as free counselling, information, referrals and one-on-one support that will be available to residents of the building and the community at large.

Residents will also have access to indoor and outdoor amenity space, including a garden, quiet space, fitness and play area, outdoor dining and barbecue area, as well as an outdoor deck overlooking Davie Street. Two underground levels will provide 13 vehicle parking spaces and 259 bike parking spaces. Construction is expected to be complete in fall 2026.

Community Land Trust will operate the majority of the building, while McLaren Housing Society will manage 31 units designated for individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. McLaren will work with residents who live with HIV/AIDS to ensure access to essential services and support their progress toward achieving stability and self-sufficiency.

The project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has nearly 77,000 homes delivered or underway, including nearly 8,000 homes in Vancouver.

Quotes:

Sean Fraser, federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities –

“The Government of Canada is taking action and delivering concrete results in Vancouver and across the country. The project announced today is a prime example of how working with all levels of government and non-profit organizations will bring much-needed housing to Canadians. This is an all-hands-on-deck approach that shows the federal government’s leadership with the National Housing Strategy is working.”

Ken Sim, mayor of Vancouver –

“This development marks another investment in our city for a community of people who deserve safety in place with support services. As evidenced by our nearly $48-million investment, the City of Vancouver is committed to delivering more affordable housing for the 2SLGBTQI+ community. We are proud of the strong relationships this project demonstrates; all levels of government and non-profits working together to deliver exactly what the community wants and needs.”

Hedy Fry, MP for Vancouver Centre –

“Solving the housing crisis isn’t just about building more homes, but also about meeting the unique needs of those communities. This new building will not only provide 154 units of housing in the downtown core and close to transit, but it will also allow residents to live close to where they work, reduce their commute times and increase their quality of life. When people feel supported their community, we all benefit.”

Anoop Gill, executive director, QMUNITY

“QMUNITY’s new home at 981 Davie St. is a dream that 2SLGBTQIA+ communities in B.C. have been working toward for over four decades. This building is more than a foundation layed of bricks, but a home; a home where we can provide dignified experiences in employment and service to those within queer, trans and Two-Spirit communities across all of British Columbia; a new home eliciting the new realities of queer, trans and Two-Spirit people that differed from the segregated and oppressed spaces in the city 40 years ago. This building is our renewed hope in providing accessible services for all 2SLGBTQIA+ folks across B.C.”

Tiffany Duzita, executive director, Community Land Trust –

“Safe, secure and affordable homes involve an assembly of solutions and working with all three levels of government. With this investment, Community Land Trust, in partnership with McLaren Housing Society, will be providing 154 homes to individuals and families living and working in Vancouver. We are proud of all involved on this project and the continued support to increase the availability of housing in B.C.”

Ilm Kassam, executive director, McLaren Housing Society –

“Stable housing is fundamental to health and hope. McLaren Housing Society, in strong partnership with the Community Land Trust, and with the unwavering support of local, provincial and federal governments, is thrilled to embrace the opportunity to create new subsidized homes for people living with HIV. This initiative stands as a powerful testament to our steadfast commitment to supporting and empowering individuals living with HIV.”

Learn More:

To find out about the National Housing Strategy, visit: www.placetocallhome.ca

For information about Government of Canada housing initiatives, visit Housing Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/finance/manage/housing.html

To learn about B.C.’s new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing/.

A backgrounder follows. 

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