ISSofBC is launching an ambitious three year project to construct the first purpose built facility for refugees worldwide. The following information will give you a brief overview of our project to date:
- Creating the first facility of its kind in the world – a fully integrated and coordinated regional service hub that brings together several organizations, programs and services that addresses the immediate needs of refugee newcomers both resettled refugees and refugee claimants.
- To build a 70,000+ sq foot, gold leed (environment standard), purpose built facility for refugees and other newcomers at 2610 Victoria Drive (Victoria Drive and East 10th Ave) in Vancouver.
The Building will include:
- 27 units (160-200 beds) of first (2 week) and second stage (up to one year) housing units – various configurations from single units to families of up to 16 members;
- a regional primary health care clinic;
- a refugee trauma support and treatment centre – both adults and children;
- child minding space, including outdoor playground and family area;
- immigrant refugee youth drop-in space;
- a food bank;
- community kitchen/multiple meeting spaces;
- law clinic space
- first language settlement support staff offices;
- teaching facility linked to several post secondary institutions; and,
- ISSofBC corporate service offices.
As well, the regional service hub will bring together (co-locate as tenants) several smaller not for profit organizations to increase service coordination and other efficiencies. Future co-location – tenants include:
- Inland Refugee Society (IRS);
- Settlement Orientation Services (SOS);
- the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST); and,
- Mt Pleasant Family Place’s – Circle of Care and Connection Early childhood Development Refugee program.
There will also be a multi-purpose government outreach office on the ground floor used by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Ministry of Social Development and Service Canada for various services for refugees. On-going discussions are also underway about locating an on-site banking kiosk and ATM machine for clients and staff.
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 new Welcome House.