Vancouver to build innovative refugee centre

Vancouver City Council has unanimously approved a grant of up to $490,000 to the Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISS) to help assist with the construction of an innovative transitional supportive housing project providing short and medium term accommodation for refugees.

Located at 2610 Victoria Drive, the ISS ‘Welcome House Centre’ will provide short term and transitional housing with supports for recently arrived refugees. The project will include 98 flexible, lockable rooms which can be combined in a variety of configurations, down to 26 “self-contained units” allowing ISS to flexibly house larger or smaller families as well as singles, as need arises.

The City staff report on the project noted that “Refugee claimants are among the highest population at-risk of homelessness in our city,” and that the project will include access to crucial services such as banking assistance, government outreach, language classes, medical care and housing / settlement services.

The City of Vancouver will provide $490,000 and a 60-year land lease at $1 per year in support of the new project.

Construction will commence January 2014 on Victoria Drive near East Broadway.