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Kingsway Continental adds 123 safe and affordable housing units to Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood

June 7 2014

“Working to end street homelessness and build a range a of new affordable housing options continues to a be a leading priority for the City of Vancouver, and we’re making important progress,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

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The City of Vancouver and community members celebrated the opening of the Kingsway Continental, a 123-unit non-market housing project on Kingsway near Boundary.

The City was joined by Jennifer Gray-Grant, Executive Director of the Collingwood Neighbourhood House for a community celebration hosted by the new residents. Neighbours, partners, and service providers were invited to welcome the tenants, tour the renovated rooms, and learn more about the Kingsway Continental interim housing.

About the new accommodation

The 68,000 square foot Kingsway Continental will be used primarily to accommodate tenants from the decommissioned Old Continental building in Downtown South. Renfrew-Collingwood area residents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness will also be considered as a priority as units are available.

“Working to end street homelessness and build a range a of new affordable housing options continues to a be a leading priority for the City of Vancouver, and we’re making important progress,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Adding 123 quality housing units at Kingsway Continental is a significant contribution to increasing non-market rental housing stock in Vancouver, and the positive impact of safe and affordable housing as a stabilizing effect on people's lives cannot be overemphasized.” 

Project history

In November 2012, the City purchased the former Ramada Inn hotel at 3484 Kingsway for $15.5 million and converted the building into non-market housing. The Kingsway Continental building will include 123 units with priority for tenants from the Old Continental, a 109 room City-operated non-market housing building that was closed due to age and rising maintenance costs. Under the Granville Loops Policy Plan, the area of the former building will be redeveloped to include both new market and subsidized housing.

Management of the facility

The use of Kingsway Continental as interim housing is intended for a period of at least 10 years, bridging the gap until the planned Granville Loops housing is built. The City will manage the facility and work closely with partner agencies and community groups, such as the Collingwood Neighbourhood House, to ensure effective management and support for tenants.

Local amenities

The residence is located on a major bus route and is a short walk to the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station. There are a range of retail shops and services within walking distance, and amenities such as the Collingwood Neighbourhood House, Evergreen Community Health Centre, and the VPL Collingwood Branch.

Building improvements

Investments to upgrade the Kingsway Continental have resulted in adding much needed affordable housing. Renovations cost $4.5 million and addressed health and safety issues, provided upgrades for units, and completed repairs to plumbing and electrical systems to ensure a minimum of 10 years occupancy. Building improvements to meet the needs of new residents included painting, a new laundry room, a common kitchen, and a patio garden where food and plants can be grown..

New housing supported by community

“I’m really happy to see how local residents and service providers have come together to welcome our new neighbours with gift bags they’ve filled with things like socks, hand cream, and bottles of shampoo,” said Jennifer Gray-Grant, Executive Director of the Collingwood Neighbourhood House. “School children and local youth have created individual cards so that each resident feels welcome in their new home and their new neighbourhood.”   

The local neighbourhood, led by the Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) and Collingwood Community Policing Centre (CPC), have shown great interest and compassion in supporting the tenants moving into the area. The CNH and CPC hosted an information session on the project and are coordinating welcome kits for the new Kingsway Continental tenants.

Providing affordable housing in the city 

The City is actively working to protect Vancouver’s existing supply of affordable rental housing, while adding 5,000 units of non-market or social housing by 2021. Adding a mix of new housing to neighbourhoods is one of the ways the City is working to address affordable housing challenges.

The creation of non-market housing using civic land helps fulfill Council’s commitment, as outlined in Vancouver's Housing and Homelessness Strategy, 2012-2021 to provide strong leadership and enhance housing stability, including measures to ensure every resident has a safe, affordable home. 

Market rental and social housing in Vancouver

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Social- and market rental housing

Resources for tenants and developers of social housing, co-op housing, and market rental housing.

Housing and Homelessness Strategy, 2012-2021

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Read the complete Housing and Homelessness Strategy, and learn how Council is ending street homelessness while providing affordable housing for all residents.

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