All three levels of government have committed a combined total of more than $49 million in public funding towards constructing a new social housing building in the Downtown Eastside.
Previously approved by the City of Vancouver, the project at 508 Powell Street — just east of Oppenheimer Park — by Lookout Housing and Health Society will provide 114 units of social housing for low-income seniors, Indigenous people, women fleeing domestic violence, newcomers, refugees, working singles, and couples and families.
The announcement today indicates the federal government will provide $35.9 million, while the provincial government through BC Housing will contribute $10.3 million towards construction costs and a further $200,000 annually upon completion to subsidize a portion of the ongoing operating and maintenance costs.
The municipal government will also provide $3 million, and Lookout Housing and Health Society will contribute $8.2 million.
“Through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, our government is committed to helping individuals and families here in Vancouver access affordable homes that are near support and amenities that will allow them to thrive. This is the National Housing Strategy at work,” said Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of housing, diversity, and inclusion, in a statement.
The unit size mix is 66 micro units, four studio units, four accessible studio units, 21 accessible one-bedroom units, nine two-bedroom units, and 10 three-bedroom units.
On the ground level of the seven-storey building, there will be full-time health and wellness supports, referrals to services for tenants, and the Powell Street Getaway (PSG), which offers food, health, and social programs to both building residents and the wider community. Residents will also have access to various indoor and outdoor amenity spaces, including an internal courtyard. The building is designed by NSDA Architects.
The redevelopment replaces the site’s existing two-storey buildings with the PSG and a Vancouver Coastal Health facility.
“Lookout Housing and Health Society recognizes the substantial need for affordable homes and a full continuum of wrap around support services for those who call the Downtown East Side home. This project is just one step towards addressing these needs,” said Shayne Williams, the CEO of Lookout Housing and Health Society.
With funding now secured, construction can begin soon for a scheduled completion in Summer 2024.