Le Lézard
Classified in: Business
Subjects: NTA, CPG, CFG

Landmark Indigenous housing project breaks ground in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 10, 2023 /CNW/ - Construction is now underway on a major Indigenous-led and focused development in Vancouver that will bring nearly 170 mixed-use homes and 80 shelter beds to the city's Downtown Eastside community.

Today, Taleeb Noormohamed, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, alongside the Honourable Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing for British Columbia, Joan Phillip, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, Deputy Mayor Pete Fry, City of Vancouver, and Susan Tatoosh (Tii Thul'p), Executive Director, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society (VAFCS) announced a combined investment of more than $97 million that will fund the 248 new spaces for Indigenous individuals and families in Vancouver. Construction of Ho'-kee-melh Kloshe Lum is underway for and is set to be complete in late 2025.

Located at 1015 East Hastings Street, the building is named Ho'-kee-melh Kloshe Lum, which means "to gather, good spirits." It will be a mixed-use development across two concrete towers and will include 143 low- to moderate-income rentals, 25 supportive housing units, and 80 shelter beds.

The development will prioritize Indigenous residents, and the building will incorporate design elements to foster culture and community. This will include larger, family-oriented homes, gathering and ceremonial areas, and space allotted for Indigenous artwork and installations.

Two social enterprise spaces are being planned and will feature a café and Klatawa Bike Shop, both of which will be operated by VAFCS. The project will also include courtyard access, a rooftop multipurpose room with a shared kitchen and landscaped area, and a multi-level day centre with a range of services available such as lounge areas, library, an art studio, and counselling spaces.

The project is a partnership between federal government, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Indigenous Services Canada, the Province, through BC Housing, the City of Vancouver, the Aboriginal Housing Management Association, and Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society. Development support has also been provided by M'akola Development Services and Western Canadian Properties Group. 

The building's shelter, supportive housing and affordable rentals, alongside the café and cycling storefronts, will be operated by VAFCS.

Funding provided for this project is as follows:


"Working with organizations is critical to understanding the unique needs and circumstances of their communities. Partnering with those on the ground helps to provide the most relevant housing options and helps to ensure the most successful outcomes. Thanks in particular to this partnership with the province, the City of Vancouver, and the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society, we will not only be creating 170 new homes for residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, but also a place to honour their traditions and get support from their community. This is an all hands-on deck approach that shows the federal government's leadership with the National Housing Strategy is working." ? The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

"Indigenous communities in British Columbia deserve access to safe and affordable housing. Through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund the government is investing in 112 new affordable homes for Indigenous peoples to improve the quality of life for the people who need it most. These kinds of investments transform our communities and will give residents a true sense of belonging and a safe, secure, culturally appropriate place to call home." ? Taleeb Noormohamed, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville

"Indigenous leaders, communities and organizations know best the realities that Indigenous families face in Canada. Every investment in an Indigenous infrastructure project must be a collaboration with them. From safe spaces to affordable housing, this Indigenous-led project reflects some of the needs of Indigenous people in central Vancouver. This much-needed hub of services will help families thrive, and create opportunities for reconciliation to move forward."  ? The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services

"This expansive new development will provide a variety of housing options that will help meet the diverse needs of the Downtown Eastside community. I look forward to seeing the lasting positive impacts I know these homes will have for so many residents, including families and elders. Our government will continue to work to build projects like this to provide new opportunities, security and peace of mind for British Columbians."  ? The Honourable Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing for British Columbia

"I would like to thank our many project partners, including the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, the City of Vancouver and the federal government, for coming together on such a diverse new building," said Phillip. "I look forward to seeing the doors open on these new homes, so Indigenous families, elders and individuals can stay close to their community where their families and friends surround them." ? Joan Phillip, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant

"Ho'-kee-melh Kloshe Lum is an innovative, indigenous- focused, and community-driven partnership that will bring much-needed below-market, supportive, and shelter housing to the Downtown Eastside. The City of Vancouver looks forward to continuing to work with our partners in senior government and the community to enable similar projects that deliver more housing faster."  ?  Ken Sim, Mayor, City of Vancouver

"The collaboration across all partners involved in this project is an example of excellence in creating more equitable, community-based housing to serve those most in need," says Margaret Pfoh, CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA). "Forty percent of those who are unhoused in Vancouver are Indigenous. At AHMA, we know that culturally supported living spaces with trauma-informed wraparound services are a pathway for healing, safety, connection and belonging. We hope to see more of this kind of housing moving forward." ?  Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association

"The Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society is proud to work in partnership with BC Housing, CMHC, and the City of Vancouver to demonstrate Reconciliation in action and our shared commitment to upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by providing culturally safe, affordable, and accessible housing that is operated by and for Indigenous peoples. We are excited to welcome community members to an environment where Indigenous placemaking is prioritized, and our community members see themselves when they walk through the door." - Susan Tatoosh (Tii Thul'p), Executive Director, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society

"Today, we celebrate the resounding success of this landmark project, developed in partnership with the VAFCS. BC Housing, CMHC, the City of Vancouver, and Western Canadian Properties Group. This project demonstrates how we can develop homes differently and achieve meaningful results by prioritizing commitments to upholding Indigenous values, following the lead of community leaders like VAFCS, and taking a relationships-first approach. M'akola Development Services is proud to support VAFCS and the project partners in developing this project from concept to community." ? Kaela Schramm, Director of Projects and Planning, M'akola Development Services 

"Western Canadian Properties Group is extremely proud to have been chosen to partner with CMHC, BC Housing, the City of Vancouver, and the Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society to provide the Downtown Eastside with an exciting and innovative mixed-use housing project. The progress made to date is the result of thousands of hours of hard work by dedicated individuals committed to providing quality housing across all income levels, and celebrates the area's rich Indigenous history and culture. As the development manager, WCPG will be working closely with our builder Urban One to deliver a project that will serve as a cultural hub in the Downtown Eastside for generations to come." ? James Ferrie, CEO, Western Canadian Properties Group

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SOURCE Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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