Union Gospel Mission (UGM) has broken ground on its $35.5 million new ‘Women and Families Centre.” The new facility, located on East Hastings at Heatley Avenue, will be the UGM’s largest expansion in 78 years.
“This new building will not only save lives, but change the trajectory of entire families for generations,” says 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 square-foot 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.
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.”
Through its seven locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides emergency shelter, meals, outreach, career development counselling, education, safe and affordable housing, addiction recovery, after school supports, and much more to those struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction.