VANCOUVER – The Vivian has officially reopened to provide 24-units of housing for homeless women and women at risk of homelessness, and who have mental health and addiction disorders.
The $1.3-million capital project is a result of partnerships between the Province, health authority and local non-profit societies. The Vivian originally opened in 2004 but closed after a serious fire in May 2006.
The Vivian’s operator, the Triage Emergency Services & Care Society, began renovating the building in November 2006. Renovations were made possible by the insurance proceeds and additional donations from Triage and the Vivian Grace Ash Benevolent Society. In March 2007, the provincial government committed $772,000 towards the project and the final renovations were completed this month.
“The Vivian provides 24 units of supportive housing to help women in the Downtown Eastside,” said Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayencourt. “The Vivian is about women at risk having a home, with treatment for their addiction and mental health disorders as well as other support services integrated into their daily life.”
The Province and Vancouver Coastal Health will provide ongoing operational funding for support staff. Fundraising done through E-Care Contact Centers & Triage rounded out the renovation costs and will help to provide the operational funding.
“Access to safe, secure housing is a fundamental part of building a healthy community,” said Ida Goodreau, president and chief executive officer, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). “VCH has supported The Vivian for the past two years, and will continue to provide on-site support services so that we can help at-risk women improve their quality of life as they move toward the more permanent housing they need.”
The Vivian is for at-risk, chronically homeless women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and is the first minimal barrier, “housing first” program specifically designed for women living with concurrent mental health and substance use issues. The program is fully staffed 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
“E-Care Contact Centers is fortunate to be able to partner with Triage,” said E-Care CEO and Ash family member Peter Ash, “To provide a place of safety and security to the most at-risk women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The residents of The Vivian are a unique and special group of women in need of a place to call ‘home’ – a place where resources are available for them when they want them. We are thrilled that The Vivian is open again, and pledge our unwavering and ongoing support in every way. At E-Care we are so proud of Triage’s work and are truly privileged to have a part in it.”
“The Vivian houses women who have often chosen the streets over current housing options or have continuously failed out of other residential programs,” said David Ash of the Vivian Grace Ash Benevolent Society. “These are the women that need the kind of help that Triage Emergency Services & Care Society is willing to provide in a home like The Vivian.”
“Our dreams for The Vivian are not simply to get women off the streets, but to provide a wide range of supports 24 hours a day that assist this vulnerable group in getting back on their feet,” said Mark Smith, executive director of Triage Emergency Services & Care Society. “We are very grateful for the extraordinary contribution from the private sector and individual donors that in partnership with our government partners, helped bring The Vivian back for the long term.”
This initiative is an integral part of the provincial housing strategy, Housing Matters BC. The strategy includes a commitment to build new supportive housing units as a continuation of the ongoing work of the Premier’s Task Force on Homelessness, Mental Illness and Addictions. The Province has committed to creating 2,287 new housing units under the Provincial Homelessness Initiative. The Province’s budget for shelters and affordable housing is $328 million – nearly triple what it was in 2001.
The Vivian, at 512 East Cordova in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, provides 24 housing units for homeless women or women at risk of homelessness with mental health and addiction disorders. The building has officially re-opened after fire forced its closure in May 2006.
Partners and Funding
Capital cost of this project is approximately $1.3 million.
The Province provided a one-time grant of approximately $772,000 to complete building repairs and will provide annual operating funding of $395,000.
Vancouver Coastal Health will provide funding for 3.2 full-time equivalents of support staff for The Vivian’s first year back in operation. VCH has been providing funding for staffing at The Vivian since April 2005.
E-Care Contact Centers has provided over $240,000 through fundraising.
The Vivian Grace Ash Benevolent Society has provided a 30-year lease of the property to the Triage Emergency Services & Care Society for $10, representing equity of $152,000.
Triage Emergency Services & Care Society provided $132,000 in equity through insurance, donations and pledges and will provide $100,000 in fundraising.
Triage Emergency Services & Care Society
Senior Media Relations Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health
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