Reported by Chelsea Powrie
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson hosted a press conference on Monday to officially announce 31 units of YWCA affordable housing to be built above Fire Hall No.5, currently under construction in South Vancouver.
The YWCA Pacific Spirit Terrace, will focus on providing places for mother-led families in need. Prior to this project, Vancouver has seen other YWCA projects partner with public buildings, including the new Strathcona library. The units in this latest building will cost between $500-980 per month. The YWCA has currently raised 63 per cent of its $3.75 million contribution.
YWCA finds local support from a program passionate about helping women succeed
One of the main donors to the program is the Pacific Spirit Foundation, whose director Peter Muench was also at the press conference. He said the foundation was drawn to the project for its dedication to empowering and helping women.
“It’s no secret that Vancouver is one of the best places on earth. But it’s also no secret that it can be tough to build a life here, specifically for those coming from a mother-led household,” Muench said.
Kavitha Cariappa was one such mother. She used YWCA affordable housing facilities as a young single mother of two, and said that knowing she could provide a safe home for her children gave her the confidence to go back to school and start a new career.
“The YWCA has given me hope. They have built my life,” Cariappa said. “I am a living example of their passion and the commitment they have put in.”
Mayors from around the world learn from Vancouver’s initiatives
Robertson said Vancouver’s approach to pairing affordable housing with public spaces has garnered international attention.
“I have had calls from other mayors from around the world asking about Vancouver’s new approach,” Robertson said. “It’s a trend that we are starting, and we are having an uptick in lots of questions from leaders around the world.”
The YWCA Pacific Spirit Terrace is expected to be completed in summer 2018.