New BC Centre Reflects Community Values

Written by Posted On Monday, 08 May 2006 17:00

While recent headlines in British Columbia's daily newspaper The Vancouver Sun proclaimed, "Massive Surge in C$1M Homes: Nearly 22,000 B.C. houses are now worth more than a million dollars," one BC city was busy addressing another impact of BC's real estate boom–homelessness.

In Vancouver Island's central city of Nanaimo , a new C$4.2 million housing development intended for the city's homeless and families in crisis is officially underway. The Salvation Army New Hope Centre, adjacent to a recently-renovated Community and Family Services Centre, is one of a dozen transitional housing developments being built across the province in response to the Premier's Task Force on Homelessness, Mental Illness and Addictions.

The four-storey building, operated by the Salvation Army Nanaimo Ministry, which was established in 1894, will house 45 beds: 16 as self-contained studio units for longer-term and supportive housing and 29 as emergency crisis or shelter beds. This downtown Centre, which combines housing with counselling services and employment programs, is designed to assist its residents to make the complete transition into long-term permanent housing.

It may seem surprising that BC's solid pre-Olympics economy and a hot job market -- two conditions that contribute to the rise in real estate values -- are not enough to ensure that everyone has a home. The reported 79.4 per cent increase in million-dollar BC homes in one year represents a 187 per cent rise since 2004, based on BC Assessment Authority data reviewed by The Vancouver Sun, and it is a clear reflection of the scale of escalating real estate values. As property values increase, affordability slips further out of reach for low- and middle-income Canadians, increasing the likelihood of homelessness and making it more challenging to reverse this situation.

"Homelessness is a societal problem today, not just one commercial challenge," said Captain John Murray, Division Secretary for Media Relations for The Salvation Army, which is the largest non-governmental social service agency in BC. "Nanaimo is growing economically as a city and in my experience, when cities evolve and mature along with all the wonderful things you get, are also some of the realities of communities. We applaud that, as a city that continues to grow and that has grown and prospered, there is recognition of the responsibility of tackling this [homelessness] issue."

The larger the city, the more visible homeless conditions may be, but in most, if not all, communities across Canada some individuals and families face homelessness or are at risk of losing their house, condominium or apartment.

Murray acknowledged the contribution of all the organizations that worked together to create the New Hope Centre, but emphasized that people helping people is what really matters: "It is [about] individuals working together to make a difference in the lives of the needy ... it is a tribute to the individuals in Nanaimo's Working Group on Homelessness."

The Salvation Army will provide C$375,811 in cash equity and the land valued at C$1,089,700. As well as contributions from the federal housing agency, the Canada Mortage and Housing Corporation , and from the provincial government, coalition support came from many sources, including:

  • The City of Nanaimo is providing C$300,000 in land equity and development cost charge forgiveness and reduction of levies totaling C$120,518.

  • The Real Estate Foundation has offered a C$50,000 grant.

  • The Vancouver Island Health Authority is contributing ongoing annual operating funding for the Housing Support Program, which will provide 24-hour, 7-day-a-week supervision and support for those who need it.

Although construction of buildings seems the solution to homelessness, Murray stresses that is just the beginning: "It's about building capacity in people and capacity in people is not just about putting up a structure. We are looking past that and looking at individuals, because we believe housing is a critical issue for people who live below the poverty line and if they get housing this is a great step to moving forward."

When you're considering a move to a new location, don't measure the worth of that community by the number of million dollar homes it contains -- even if you intend to buy one. A caring community offers benefits to all and gives "home" its real meaning. It will also offer respect for the knowledge and skills that you contribute to the long-term growth of the area.

"It is important to realize that a project like this and investing in the lives of others takes time," said Murray. "The true test and celebration of community is when we have business people, public and private sectors coming together -- but good things take time."

Sources: Salvation Army, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, BC Housing, The Vancouver Sun

Rate this item
(0 votes)
PJ Wade —       Decisions & Communities

Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic problem solver and author of 8 books and more than 2800 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

PJ Wade's latest business bookWhat's Your Point? Cut The Crap, Hit The Mark & Stick!—further proves PJ's forward-thinking expertise and her on-point ability to explain technical, even non-verbal, communication details in practical, actionable terms. Print publication: Fall 2022.

PJ: “What's Your Point?the pivotal 21st-Century business question—must be answered before you open your mouth, hit a key, tap anything or swipe. Too often 'Your Point' is not clear to you and communication remains an expensive illusion.”

As The Catalyst, PJ concentrates on enhancing communication ROI for experienced advisors, executives, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other savvy professionals, who may not have received as much formal training in communication as they have in their own field.

Onward & Upward—The directions that really matter! Reach PJ at [email protected] and visit her What's Your Point? Blog. Keep up-to-date with PJ's popular column  Decisions & Communities

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.