10:16 AM

B.C. preserves affordable seniors housing in Vancouver

VANCOUVER - Seniors living in the 33-unit Harmony House in Vancouver's Chinatown will be able to stay in their homes because the Province has bought the building to preserve its ongoing use as affordable rental housing.

"By purchasing these 33 homes we are ensuring that seniors in Vancouver continue to have access to an affordable place to live and are able to stay in the community they call home, close to loved ones and the services they rely on," said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. "This purchase is another example of the work our government is undertaking to protect the existing housing stock we need to keep our communities whole, while also building new housing at a historic rate."

The Province, through BC Housing, has partnered with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. to buy Harmony House, located at 588 Shanghai Alley, preventing much-needed affordable housing from being lost to the private market and ensuring seniors living there can remain in their homes and neighbourhood. The four-floor building is made up of accessible studio and one-bedroom units and includes a multi-purpose dining area and shared patio space.

"There's a significant need to build and preserve more affordable and accessible homes for seniors in the province," said Harwinder Sandhu, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors' Services and Long-Term Care. "The purchase of the Harmony House in Vancouver Chinatown demonstrates our government's understanding that seniors want to live in their desired community that serves their specific cultural and linguistic needs, which are so important to their happiness and well-being."

S.U.C.C.E.S.S. will own the strata units, helping to safeguard the homes against the future risk of a third-party sale. The society will also continue in its role as operator of the building.

"We're pleased to help ensure Harmony House residents can age in place in these units and continue to access the assisted-living services from S.U.C.C.E.S.S. that enhance their wellness, independence and quality of life in the community," said Queenie Choo, CEO, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. "S.U.C.C.E.S.S. has been helping people find affordable homes since 2008, and today we operate nearly 1,000 housing units across Metro Vancouver, with more to come to meet demand."

Residents at Harmony House will also continue to receive Independent Living BC rent supplements, provided by BC Housing and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). These supplements provide subsidized, assisted-living housing with support services to seniors and people with disabilities.

This purchase is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has more than 76,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway, including nearly 8,000 in Vancouver.


Bob Chapman, vice-president, Vancouver Community, Vancouver Coastal Health -

"We are pleased Harmony House residents will not only have fit-for-purpose housing that meets their needs, but that they can continue to access quality health services within their community. From existing evidence, we know supporting seniors in living independently and in their own community where possible, has significant positive benefits for their health and well- being."

Joan Phillip, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant -

"I am proud that our government took action to secure the affordable rental homes at Harmony House so that they can benefit the current tenants and the Chinatown community for the long term. These homes provide a sense of well-being and a place for many to call home."

Ken Sim, mayor, Vancouver -

"We are thankful and excited to see Harmony House preserved for ongoing use as culturally appropriate rental homes for seniors living in Vancouver Chinatown. I am incredibly pleased that those who have contributed so immensely to our society can now stay living in their homes and neighbourhood without the worry of future sale or redevelopment."

Quick Facts:

  • An independent appraisal of the site was completed in March 2023 and supports the purchase price.
  • The Province, through BC Housing, bought Harmony House for approximately $16.4 million.
  • BC Housing and Vancouver Coastal Health provide approximately $1.3 million in combined annual funding to residents of Harmony House through the Independent Living BC program.

Learn More:

To learn more about government's new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing/

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC