ISSofBC’s plan to build a 58,000-square-foot refugee services hub in East Vancouver received the final green light early April by Vancouver City Council who approved a grant close to $500,000 and a 60 year land lease for the project.
“This is another milestone in this long-term multi-year project of getting this facility built… we’ve had outstanding support from the city,” said Chris Friesen, ISSofBC director of settlement services during an interview on CBC Radio’s On the Coast April 9.
ISSofBC, Henriquez Partners Architects, and Terra Housing are working together to build the Welcome House Centre which will be the first facility of its kind in the world. The centre brings together a variety of essential organizations, programs and services that address the needs of immigrants and Government-Assisted Refugee (GAR) newcomers to Vancouver.
The plan for Welcome House includes 28 units with 200 beds for first-stage (two week) and second-stage housing (up to one year), a health care clinic, refugee trauma support and treatment, child-minding space, a youth drop-in space for immigrants, a food bank, a community kitchen, a law clinic, a teaching facility and offices for first language settlement support staff and society staff.
The City of Vancouver will provide $490,000 and a 60-year land lease at $1 per year in support of the project. The facility, to be located at 2610 Victoria Drive, is expected to open June 20, 2015 (United Nations World Refugee Day.)