First United has long been a steady and welcoming presence in the Downtown Eastside for the homeless and poor, first as a church and more recently as a community centre and social service provider.
Now First United Community Ministry has big plans for its property, planning a tower which will offer housing and several floors for programs.
A November 6 article by Jen St. Denis in The Tyee described those plans:
First United Community Ministry plans to partner with Lu’ma Native Housing Society to build an 11-storey building with seven floors of housing and four floors for First United’s social programs.
“We’re really hoping we’ll have shovels in the ground next summer,” said Carmen Lansdowne, executive director for First United.
First United has been trying to redevelop the building for the past 12 years, but Lansdowne said this time, she’s confident the project will go ahead.
In September, the regional council for the United Church sold the property to First United for $10, meaning the ministry can tap into the equity to help fund the new building.
The municipal, provincial and federal governments are also aligned on providing more funding for affordable housing, Lansdowne said.
First United hasn’t held church services at its building at the corner of Gore and East Hastings streets since 2007, when the congregation had dwindled but the demand for social services continued to grow.
Instead of filling a church every Sunday with worshippers, the church became a full-time shelter and drop-in space.
Go here for the full story.
Redevelopment plans on the First United site state:
The first four floors, operated by First United, will provide a safe and inclusive community space where people are welcomed with joy, kindness, dignity and respect. The space will encourage healing by offering services and programming that reflect the needs and interests of the community.
Lu’ma Native Housing Society will offer safe, secure homes for Indigenous Peoples in a supportive and caring environment on the upper seven floors.
The proposed project includes:
• Two drop-in spaces, a large dining room, a legal advocacy clinic, a commercial kitchen, multipurpose spaces, public showers, a day sleeping room, a chapel and sacred spaces, outdoor decks, computer lab and administrative offices, developed following consultation with Downtown Eastside residents
• 105 non-market studio and one-bedroom homes, with laundry and amenities
Go here for more.
CLA Housing Townhall
Here is the church’s description:
On February 19th, 2019, the membership of Christian Life Assembly voted in favour of providing a parcel of land for a new, affordable rental housing development on their Langley Campus located at 21277 – 56th Avenue. Shortly thereafter, the CLA Housing Society was formed.
Incorporated under the Societies Act of British Columbia, we are a stand-alone, non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to oversee the construction and operation of a 98-unit affordable rental housing development for families and independent seniors.
In addition to our partnership with Christian Life Assembly, this project also involves a partnership with BC Housing – who are not only funding the build but have also guaranteed 60 years of operational funds for any shortfalls and/or maintenance issues.
Though still in our preliminary stages we are working closely with the Township of Langley on our rezoning activities, and our community engagement initiatives. At present, we are not yet accepting applications; however, those who are interested in receiving regular updates are invited to submit their name and email address using the online forms provided at the bottom of the website.
Go here for details of the project.
CLA will also be undertaking a more timeless and timely, though temporary, building project on several work bee days over the next month. They will construct Bethlehem: “This nativity will remind our community of the original and most important part of Christmas.”
Social conservatives homeless
British Columbians may be feeling a bit smug as they look at the electoral mess south of the border. But some may be feeling a certain amount of dis-ease as they survey the local situation.
An article by Terry O’Neill in The B.C. Catholic makes the case:
For every winner in politics, there are always multiple losers, and not all of them are political parties.
Indeed, in the Oct. 24 provincial election it was clear that not only were multiple political parties on the losing side of the ledger – the B.C. Liberals being chief among them – but also that significant aspects of public-policy debate were crushed under an avalanche of “woke”-era political correctness.
Discussion of current affairs close to the heart of practising Catholics [and evangelicals], including assisted suicide, taxpayer-funded abortion, contraception as a new social program, and gender identity, was either completely absent or deemed beyond the pale.
The most notable example of the latter was the dismissal by the B.C. Liberals of Chilliwack-Kent incumbent candidate Laurie Throness. . . .
Essentially what Throness was arguing for is the classic big-tent, centre-right coalition that was first assembled in B.C. in 1941 by way of a formal Liberal-Conservative coalition, then reanimated by the Social Credit Party, and finally manifested by the B.C. Liberal Party.
However, under leader Andrew Wilkinson, the B.C. Liberals have clearly veered left on social issues, leaving social conservatives with no viable party in which to place their allegiance – the minuscule B.C. Christian Heritage Party (CHP) and the moribund B.C. Conservative Party both playing an inconsequential role in the election results.
Go here for the full comment.
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