New housing opens for at-risk adults and youth

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Designed to foster a sense of community and provide residents with tools for future

By Lauren Kelly, News Editor

Along the Broadway corridor at 2465 Fraser Street, a new nine-storey supportive housing building for at-risk youth and adults has opened its doors. With 95 studio and four two-bedroom apartments, the new building is the ninth in a series of 14 social housing projects opening as part of a partnership between the Vancouver Native Housing Society (VHNS), Pacific Community Resource Society (PCRS), Streetohome, the City of Vancouver, and the BC Government.

The building was named Kwayatsut (K-why-ah-sote)—seeking one’s power or spirit quest—by Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell. VNHS will provide support for the tenants, integrate aboriginal culture in its operation and design, and work to create a sense of community within the building.

Kwayatsut is part of a program by VNHS, which was founded in 1984 with the a goal to “provide safe, secure, affordable housing for aboriginal individuals and families living in the urban setting.”

They have more recently expanded this mandate and, while focussing on aboriginal people in need, now “include housing solutions for seniors, youth, women at risk, persons living with mental illness, as well as those who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless.” The 17 buildings run by the VHNS contain 706 units, housing eight per cent of the urban BC aboriginal population.

Kwayatsut is also the new home of the Broadway Youth Resource Centre, which was opened in 1999 by PCRS and serves youth ages 12–24. It will offer counselling, information services, addiction services, and mental and physical healthcare, as well as teach money management, food preparation, house maintenance, and community living skills. Thirty of the beds are specifically for youth with the highest risk of homeless, with specific units for aboriginal and LGBTQ2S youth as well as youth leaving foster care.

Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement: “Together with the new Broadway Youth Resource Centre, this project will provide the stability and life-changing services that many young residents are counting on to lead healthier and more hopeful lives in our city.”