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Non-profit aims to build housing without gov’t money + give United We Can a new home

March 30th, 2011 · 10 Comments

Housing groups used to get the money for building social housing by applying to the government for a giant grant, waiting for it to arrive, and then going to work. That’s less and less likely these days, so some of those housing non-profits have gotten much more creative over time. Some use the assets they built up over the last 40 years to leverage redevelopments; others are putting together interesting new projects using creative ways of combining public and private support.

The new project planned for 39 East Hastings — the site of the current United We Can recycling depot — is the first I’ve seen of its kind, though. A building with social housing, built without any government support except for a BC Housing guarantee on the mortgage. Plus a new space for United We Can, plus some units for sale to people who work in local agencies, plus a few market condos thrown in at the back where the views are. This is different. (More in my story here.)

This project will be going through a rezoning sometime this spring, and many are hoping this shows the way for a new kind of housing development for the Downtown Eastside that’s not social housing, not gentrification, but a new kind of project that works for this area that doesn’t take enormous government dollars or simply pave the way for market condos that don’t fit into the neighbourhood.

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