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Tag-Archive for ◊ Downtown Eastside ◊

Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Council voted today to approve a balanced and community-driven plan for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) that will build significant new affordable housing and revitalize the neighbourhood’s heritage character.

The plan’s approval follows three years of development by a resident-led committee, and the hosting of over 300 meetings and consultation events.

“The Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan represents a thoughtful, balanced, and resident-driven vision for Vancouver’s oldest and most diverse neighbourhood,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This plan reflects residents’ aspirations for a community with safer and more stable housing, protections for low-income residents, stronger support for mental health and addictions, and a more vibrant local economy.

“This plan will create a healthier, more inclusive neighbourhood – but not at the expense of low-income residents.”

Strong new measures are incorporated to protect and improve existing low-income housing while adding new affordable options both in and outside of the neighbourhood, including 3,350 social housing units outside the DTES over the next 30 years.

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An innovative project approved unanimously by the Mayor and City Council at tonight’s Public Hearing will deliver a new public library branch and new social housing in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood, with housing units focused on supporting low-income single mothers and their children.

The six-storey mixed-use building at 720/730 East Hastings will host a new 11,000 sq. ft. branch of the Vancouver Public Library on its ground floor and part of the second floor, which will also include a new social service centre operated by the YWCA. The YWCA will also operate 21 new units of social/supportive housing throughout the remainder of the project.

“This project is a strong example of the kind of innovative City partnerships that can improve our neighbourhoods, support low-income families, and help end street homelessness by providing urgently-needed new social housing,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “With the support and involvement of both the Vancouver Public Library and the YWCA, this project will be a focal point for a stronger community in Strathcona and builds on the City’s commitment to deliver housing and crucial social services to Vancouver families in need.”

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A project approved by the Mayor and City Council at last night’s Public Hearing will deliver substantial new social and rental housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, with a special focus on housing for low-income women.

The fourteen-storey mixed-use building at 33-49 West Hastings will provide 102 new units of social/supportive housing and 67 units of new affordable rental housing, ensuring a diverse, balanced mix of housing opportunities. 11,074 sq. ft. of commercial space in the project’s first two floors is also currently planned for use as a low-cost food and grocery store, primarily aimed at serving low-income residents in the neighbourhood.

52 of the supportive housing units will rent at the shelter component of income assistance (currently $375 per month for a single individual and $525 per month for a couple). This Atira project would prioritize housing for women and residents needing support with ongoing mental health challenges, in partnership with a variety of community-based mental health support organizations.

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City council approved two grants today that will enable key service providers in the Downtown Eastside to expand their operations, providing better support for low-income renters and vulnerable sex trade workers.

A grant of $400,000 to the WISH Drop-In Centre will facilitate an expansion of their space and better accommodate services to vulnerable survival sex workers, while a grant of $8,000 to the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) will enable the continued operation of a Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) in the Downtown Eastside.

“Council is strongly committed to protecting vulnerable residents in the Downtown Eastside and supporting low-income renters,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “These two grants reflect the City’s continued resolve to improve safety for women in the Downtown Eastside and help address challenges with affordable rental housing.”

Based at 330 Alexander Street, WISH serves approximately 400 women in the community on an on-going basis through the Drop-in Centre and other associated programming. Many of their clients are homeless or live in unstable housing; are marginalized within the community and often have serious health issues or addictions.

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The City of Vancouver has bestowed its highest award, the Freedom of the City, on former Vancouver City Councillor and tireless advocate Jim Green.

“Jim Green has made a profound impact on the City of Vancouver and he continues to be a passionate advocate for social justice, democracy, the arts and the shaping of an inclusive city for all residents,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

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The City of Vancouver has approved $194,160 in funding today for seven community and social economic development projects in the Downtown Eastside, which is expected to leverage an additional $360,000 in investments from private businesses, foundations and other community partners.

“These projects allow citizens, community groups, and businesses to build and strengthen the Downtown Eastside, and inspire local leadership,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s a small amount of money that enables people to improve the health and well-being of their neighbourhood.