New shelter and social housing for Indigenous people coming to Downtown Eastside

Mar 11 2020, 3:20 pm

The provincial government announced today it intends to redevelop the vacant lot at the northwest corner of the intersection of East Hastings Street and Glen Drive into a social housing and shelter complex for people in the Indigenous community experiencing homelessness.

The project at 1015 East Hastings Street, fronting the road viaduct over the railway, is a partnership with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society (VAFCS). The railway to the Port crosses through the western side of the city block.

The new 14-storey building will contain 80 shelter beds and 163 units of affordable housing, including 85 affordable rental homes, 53 rental homes at or below market rent, and 25 supportive homes.

VAFCS will operate the shelter, supportive housing, and ground-level commercial space components of the building. BC Housing is in the process of seeking a non-profit operator for the affordable rental homes.

1015 East Hastings Street Vancouver

Site of 1015 East Hastings Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

1015 East Hastings Street Vancouver

Site of 1015 East Hastings Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

“This project is designed to make a positive contribution to the community,” said Susan Tatoosh, executive director of VAFCS, in a statement.

“It will help people gain the skills they need to transition to independent living, celebrate the area’s rich and vibrant Indigenous history, and create a space where neighbours can connect to each other and people from all cultural backgrounds.”

A rezoning application by BC Housing and VAFCS will be submitted to the city sometime over the coming weeks. The proposal will include improvements to the streetscape, the creation of communal gathering space, such as for art and cultural events.

“Through architecture, design, and programming, the building will celebrate the area’s rich and vibrant Indigenous history and traditions,” reads BC Housing’s project description.

“It will honour and respect the elders, adults, youth and families that live in the area. Community events and gatherings hosted at the building will help neighbours connect to each other and people from all cultural backgrounds will be invited to express and share their culture.”

This project is in addition to the development application submitted for 52 East Hastings Street, which seeks to replace Vancity’s Pigeon Park Savings, Shaldon Hotel supportive housing complex, Downtown Eastside Street Market, and an overdose prevention site into a 129-ft-tall, 11-storey, mixed-use social housing building for Indigenous individuals experiencing homelessness.

52 East Hastings Street Vancouver September 2019

Artistic rendering of 52 East Hastings Street, Vancouver. (Urban Arts Architecture)