08 Jul Building a regional service hub for refugees and other immigrants in Metro Vancouver
By: Immigrant Service Society of British Columbia (ISSofBC)
In a fascinating small world connection and the full circle of life, some former refugee clients who stayed in our existing refugee reception centre, are currently helping ISSofBC to build a $24 million, gold LEED certified, social purpose facility in East Vancouver.
This unique, first of its kind in the world, building will provide close to 60,000 square feet of programming specifically targeting refugees, with or without legal status, and other immigrants. Click here to see the video.
Some of the building highlights include:
- First and some second stage housing units – 18 units – up to 130 beds – various configurations from single units to families of up to 16 members as well as two specialized units for newcomers who are deaf, blind or have physical limitations;
- a five (5) medical room primary health care clinic;
- a cross-cultural trauma support and treatment centre for both adults and children;
- a licensed child minding space and family resource centre, including outdoor playground;
- immigrant refugee youth drop-in space and resource centre;
- a food bank and used clothing depot;
- multi-faith prayer room;
- roof top urban gardening plots;
- community kitchen/multiple meeting spaces;
- a free law clinic;
- post-secondary teaching facility;
- first language settlement and employment search support staff in over 20 languages and employment resource centre;
- eight (8) English as an Additional Language –EAL classrooms, and;
- Vancity Credit Union on-site banking kiosk and ATM machine.
Construction of the new facility.
While ISSofBC will be the building owner, we’re bringing together as co-location tenants several not for profit organizations to increase service coordination and other efficiencies for newcomers including:
- Inland Refugee Society (IRS) inlandrefugeesociety.ca
- Settlement Orientation Services (SOS) sosbc.ca/
- Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST) vast-vancouver.ca ; and,
- Mt Pleasant Family Place’s – Circle of Care and Connection Early Childhood Development Refugee program mpfamilycentre.ca
To help refugees and immigrants navigate various government systems multi-purpose government outreach office(s) will be on-site with staff deployed from CIC, ESDC and the Provincial Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.
Who are we?
ISSofBC is the oldest, not-for-profit immigrant serving agency in British Columbia (formed in 1968, incorporated 1972). The organization was established to respond to the needs of approximately 800 Ismaili refugees fleeing Idi Amin’s rule in Uganda who came to BC in the fall of 1972. ISSofBC pioneered what is commonly referred to as “settlement services” and is a founder of many of BC’s Immigrant-serving and multicultural agencies.
A model of the new facility once completed.
Who are we?
ISSofBC is the oldest, not-for-profit immigrant serving agency in British Columbia (formed in 1968, incorporated 1972). The organization was established to respond to the needs of approximately 800 Ismaili refugees fleeing Idi Amin’s rule in Uganda who came to BC in the fall of 1972. ISSofBC pioneered what is commonly referred to as “settlement services” and is a founder of many of BC’s Immigrant-serving and multicultural agencies. Click here to learn more about the ISSofBC.