10:16 AM

Landmark Indigenous housing project breaks ground in Vancouver

VANCOUVER - Construction is underway on an Indigenous-led and focused development in Vancouver that will bring nearly 170 mixed-use homes and 80 shelter beds to the Downtown Eastside.

Ravi Kahlon, B.C.'s Minister of Housing; Joan Phillip, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant; Taleeb Noormohamed, MP for Vancouver Granville; Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Indigenous Services; Pete Fry, deputy mayor, Vancouver; and Susan Tatoosh, executive director, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre (VAFCS), announced a combined investment of more than $97 million to fund the 248 new spaces.

"This expansive new development will provide a variety of housing options that will help meet the diverse needs of the Downtown Eastside community," Kahlon said. "I look forward to seeing the lasting positive impacts I know these homes will have for so many residents, including families and elders. Our government will continue to work to build projects like this to provide new opportunities, security and peace of mind for British Columbians."

Located at 1015 East Hastings St., the building is named Ho'-kee-melh Kloshe Lum, which means "to gather, good spirits." It will be a mixed-use development across two concrete towers and will include 143 low- to moderate-income rentals, 25 supportive housing units and 80 shelter beds. All the homes and shelter spaces will be operated by VAFCS.

The development will prioritize Indigenous residents and will incorporate design elements to foster culture and community. This will include larger family-oriented homes, gathering and ceremonial areas, and space allotted for Indigenous artwork and installations.

Two social enterprise spaces are being planned and will feature a café and Klatawa Bike Shop, both of which will be operated by the VAFCS. The project will also include courtyard access, a rooftop multi-purpose room with a shared kitchen and landscaped area, and a multi-level day centre with a range of services available, such as lounge areas, a library, an art studio and counselling spaces.

The project is a result of a partnership between the Province, through BC Housing, the federal government, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Indigenous Services Canada, the City of Vancouver, the Aboriginal Housing Management Association, and VAFCS. Development support has also been provided by Western Canadian Properties Group and M'akola Development Services.

"I would like to thank our many project partners, including the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, the City of Vancouver and the federal government for coming together on such a diverse new building," Phillip said. "I look forward to seeing the doors open on these new homes so Indigenous families, elders and individuals can stay close to their community where their families and friends surround them."

Construction on Ho'-kee-melh Kloshe Lum is expected to be complete in late 2025.

This project 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.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province, through BC Housing, has committed approximately $57.27 million toward this project, including:
    • approximately $34 million through the Supportive Housing Fund; and
    • $23 million in Affordable Rental Housing grant funding.
  • The federal government is providing approximately $22 million, including approximately
  • $19 million in co-investment funding through CMHC, and $3 million from the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund.
  • The City of Vancouver is providing approximately $4.6 million in combined grants and fee waivers, as well as the land where the project is located, valued at $13.3 million, under a nominal-fee leasehold agreement.

Learn More:

To learn about B.C.'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/

For information about Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, visit: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en

To find out about the National Housing Strategy, visit: http://www.placetocallhome.ca/

A backgrounder follows.