“This new building will not only save lives, but change the trajectory of entire families for generations,” said UGM President Bill Mollard. “It means fewer children in poverty, fewer women on the street, and a future for families who are now struggling to find housing.”
The seven-storey building will increase capacity to 135 beds from the previous building’s 21, and provide 63 units of new long-term housing and treatment. The 77,000 sq ft. centre will also include childcare spaces, emergency supports, and a long-term addiction recovery program for women–the only program of its kind in the Downtown Eastside.
“When I was homeless it was horrible, but my life was transformed at UGM and I know this new building will help others like me,” says former UGM guest and single mother Emily Surrette, who lived on the streets for more than two years. “I’m really excited about the new building because it’s essentially a one-stop shop: daycare, treatment, housing, all of these things.”
The new building, slated to open as early as 2021, is made possible by private donations and capital funding from all three levels of government: $14.5 million from the B.C. government, including $14 million through BC Housing and $500,000 from the Ministry of Children and Family Development; $11.375 million from the Government of Canada; $1.6 million from the City of Vancouver and $1.1 million in DCL waivers; and $720,000 from Streetohome Foundation.
“Our government has acted quickly to address the urgent need for housing that people can afford,” says Selina Robinson, British Columbia’s minister of municipal affairs and housing. “It is not just about increasing the number of homes. It is about working with our partners, such as Union Gospel Mission, to build the right kind of homes to make life better for people at all ages, stages and income-levels.”
“The lack of affordable housing in our city continues to be a critical challenge and UGM’s new Women and Families Centre will provide life-changing support for women and children in the Downtown Eastside,” says Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “The new centre will keep families together in a safe environment, while offering so many important, transformative services.”