Union Gospel Mission Breaking Ground on Historic $35.5 Million Expansion
(Vancouver) – Union Gospel Mission is breaking ground on the largest expansion in 78 years Wednesday, putting shovels in the ground at the site of its $35.5 million new ‘Women and Families Centre’.
“This new building will not only save lives, but change the trajectory of entire families for generations,” says UGM President Bill Mollard. “It means fewer children in poverty, fewer women on the street, and a future for families who are now struggling to find housing.”
The seven story building will increase capacity to 135 beds from the previous building’s 21, and provide 63 units of new long-term housing and treatment. The 77,000 square-foot centre will also include childcare spaces, emergency supports, and a long-term addiction recovery program for women–the only program of its kind in the Downtown Eastside.
“When I was homeless it was horrible, but my life was transformed at UGM and I know this new building will help others like me,” says former UGM guest and single mother Emily Surrette, who was on B.C. streets for more than two years. “I’m really excited about the new building because it’s essentially a one-stop shop: daycare, treatment, housing, all of these things.”
The new building, slated to open as early as 2021, is made possible by private donations and capital funding from all three levels of government: $14.5 million from the B.C. government, including $14 million through BC Housing and $500,000 from the Ministry of Children and Family Development; $11.375 million from the Government of Canada; $1.6 million from the City of Vancouver and $1.1 million in DCL waivers; and $720,000 from Streetohome Foundation.
“Our government has acted quickly to address the urgent need for housing that people can afford,” says Selina Robinson, British Columbia’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “It is not just about increasing the number of homes. It is about working with our partners, such as Union Gospel Mission, to build the right kind of homes to make life better for people at all ages, stages and income-levels.”
“Through the National Housing Strategy, our Government is providing assistance to those who need it most here in Vancouver, especially women and families,” says Hon. Hedy Fry, P.C., Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre. “We believe everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed and this is why we are proud to support this amazing project. UGM’s Women and Families Centre expansion will be a safe and affordable place for some of the most vulnerable Canadians to finally call home.”
“The lack of affordable housing in our city continues to be a critical challenge and UGM’s new Women and Families Centre will provide life-changing support for women and children in the Downtown Eastside,” says Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “The new Centre will keep families together in a safe environment, while offering so many important, transformative services.”
Media are invited to the official ground breaking ceremony and photo op, followed by a media availability.
Date: Today, Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Time: 10:00-11:00am (recommended to arrive by 0945)
Where: 601 East Hastings, Vancouver
Union Gospel Mission
Cell: (604) 996-1417
ABOUT UNION GOSPEL MISSION
Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for more than 78 years. Through its seven locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides emergency shelter, meals, outreach, career development counselling, education, safe and affordable housing, addiction recovery, after school supports, and much more to those struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild lives, and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To learn more, visit www.ugm.ca.