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Construction of Vancouver Downtown social housing begins

Construction of the biggest social housing project in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver has began. This comes after a decade of planning, consultation, reviewing and fundraising. In addition to social housing, the 58 West Hastings Street project will include a major healthcare facility. The provincial and federal governments announced a combined funding of CAD$79.4 million towards constructing a 10-storey, mixed-use building at 58 West Hastings Street. The federal government’s contribution is CAD$18.5 million as a contribution and CAD$27.3 million as a repayable loan, with CAD$45.8 million from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund. The provincial government, through BC Housing, is providing an annual operating subsidy of up to CAD$1.8 million over the 60-year lifespan of the building and CAD$33.6 million in funding, coming to a total of CAD$141 million.

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Occupying half a block, the site has been vacant for several years and was previously a second-hand market, homeless encampment, and community garden. The municipal government is contributing this land to the project through a century lease. There will be 231 units for homeless individuals and low-income families within the upper seven levels, including 120 supportive housing units. A total of 181 units will have rents averaging at CAD$563 per month. This is equivalent to 41.5% of the median market rent. The remaining 50 units will still be below-market at about CAD$1,080 per month.

The fourth level of the building will include a shared amenity space featuring an outdoor common area with urban agriculture plots, two unprogrammed indoor amenity rooms, and a children’s play area. Residents will also have access to the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation (VCF) community partners program, comprising over 20 businesses and organizations to provide life skills training, wellness services, and accessible cultural experiences. United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society, the not-for-profit commonly known as SUCCESS, will operate the social housing and be responsible for selecting residents.

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