Ontario Construction News staff writer
Construction is underway on an Indigenous-led and focused development in Vancouver that will bring nearly 170 mixed-use homes and 80 shelter beds to the Downtown Eastside, with combined funding of more than $97 million.
“This expansive new development will provide a variety of housing options that will help meet the diverse needs of the Downtown Eastside community,” said Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s minister of housing. “I look forward to seeing the lasting positive impacts I know these homes will have for so many residents, including families and elders.”
The building is named Ho’-kee-melh Kloshe Lum, which means “to gather, good spirits.” It will be a mixed-use development across two concrete towers and will include 143 low- to moderate-income rentals, 25 supportive housing units and 80 shelter beds. All the homes and shelter spaces will be operated by VAFCS.
Indigenous residents will be prioritized and design elements will foster culture and community. This will include larger family-oriented homes, gathering and ceremonial areas, and space allotted for Indigenous artwork and installations.
Two social enterprise spaces are being planned and will feature a café and Klatawa Bike Shop, both of which will be operated by the VAFCS. The project will also include courtyard access, a rooftop multi-purpose room with a shared kitchen and landscaped area, and a multi-level day centre with a range of services available, such as lounge areas, a library, an art studio and counselling spaces.
“I would like to thank our many project partners, including the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, the City of Vancouver and the federal government for coming together on such a diverse new building,” said Joan Phillip, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. “I look forward to seeing the doors open on these new homes so Indigenous families, elders and individuals can stay close to their community where their families and friends surround them.”
Construction on Ho’-kee-melh Kloshe Lum is expected to be complete in late 2025, part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government.
The province has committed about $57.3 million toward the project, including $34 million through the Supportive Housing Fund; and $23 million in Affordable Rental Housing grant funding.
The federal government is funding $22 million and the City of Vancouver approved $4.6 million in combined grants and fee waivers, as well as the land where the project is located, valued at $13.3 million, under a nominal-fee leasehold agreement.
“Indigenous leaders, communities and organizations know best the realities that Indigenous families face in Canada,” said Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA). “Every investment in an Indigenous infrastructure project must be a collaboration with them. From safe spaces to affordable housing, this Indigenous-led project reflects some of the needs of Indigenous people in central Vancouver.
“This much-needed hub of services will help families thrive and create opportunities for reconciliation to move forward.”