Many of our future residents have spent years in refugee camps and urban settings living in precarious housing situations including in tents.
Our new residential self-contained spaces will give refugees, with or without legal status, a new start in this country in a safe and welcoming environment.
Final touches are taking place with the installation of kitchen cabinets and countertops, while bathrooms, flooring and interior painting are complete. Window blind installation are next, followed by the delivery of appliances and residential furniture.
We will almost double our current bed capacity from our Welcome House on Drake Street – up from 70 beds to 130 beds a night.
A unique feature of the new building is the types of temporary housing units we will be able to offer. They range from two five bedroom units with shared kitchen and two washrooms and two universally accessible units for people who are blind, deaf and/or have physical limitations.
In addition there are two interlocking units on floors 4 and 5 that can accommodate families as large as 16 members through an eight bedroom, two kitchen and four bathroom configuration. These temporary housing units will be “a home away from home”.
About the Author: Chris Friesen has been the ISSofBC Director of Settlement Services for over twenty years. He is currently leading the multi-year initiative to design and build a Metro Vancouver Regional Service Centre for Refugees. In spring 2016, this 58,000sf facility will become the first of its kind in the world, bringing together a variety of community and government services and organizations to meet the immediate needs of refugees and immigrants settling in BC. Learn more about the ISSofBC Welcome Centre.