Builders Without Borders in East Vancouver

Builders Without Borders has taken on a new
housing project right here in East Vancouver.

It is a twelve unit short-term residence being created for the Aboriginal Mother Centre Society that will improve their ability to create a vibrant connected community that young native women and their children can proudly call home.

The Project

The Aboriginal Mother Centre Society, the Lu’ma Native Housing Society, and Builders Without Borders have entered into a partnership to create ten residential units, a commercial kitchen and dining facility, a day care centre for 25 children, and an office and commercial space for a cooperative enterprise that will provide work and generate revenue for the community created by the Aboriginal Mother Centre. Lu’ma will manage the building located at 2019 Dundas Street.

The Aboriginal Mother Centre Society, a non-profit society founded in 2002, is providing successful client-focused services to deal with the many facets of a young native mother’s needs. The Aboriginal Mother Centre is modeled on an integrated community approach to give mothers what they need to become independent and self sufficient. The women organize in a non-hierarchical setting using a culturally appropriate holistic approach that enables them to cut beneath symptoms into the underlying causes. AMCS has attracted and has enjoyed a strong rate of community involvement in the past 5 years of operation.

Lu’ma Native Housing Society

Lu’ma has successfully developed a significant number of non-market housing in Vancouver over the past 20 yrs. They currently own and manage housing with a market value in excess of $30 million and are the largest supplier of housing for Aboriginal housing in British Columbia.

Progress to Date

  • The building housing the Centre has been purchased by the Provincial Government for $4.2 million. The title and the mortgage will be assumed by the Aboriginal Mother Centre Society.
  • The cost for the renovation and development of the building is estimated to be $2.3 million.
  • 1.3 million has already been raised.
  • An application for an additional $380,000 has been submitted to the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
  • Builders without Borders is working to raise the $620,000 still needed to complete the project with $300,000 worth of building materials from Greater Vancouver suppliers and 320,000 in contributions from others.

Why Builders without Borders chose this project

  1. Young single aboriginal mothers are the poorest and most marginalized group of Canadians in the country. Over 45% of Aboriginal children live in single parent families, more than twice the rate of the general population. Aboriginal parents are younger and have more children. Teen births are often thirteen times higher than the general population. These young mothers are at a higher risk of being involved in family violence, substance abuse, the sex trade, and long-term welfare dependency.
  2. Transitional, social, and long-term affordable housing is urgently needed in Vancouver.
  3. The Under One Roof model is a template for other non-profit organizations to create sustainable, self-sufficient enterprises.
  4. Builders Without Borders is interested in creating models for engaging government, community and business groups in dealing with homelessness in urban centres.

Builders Without Borders has focused its attention so far on international work. It has chosen to undertake this project as its first in Canada.

The Concept

Young native mothers dealing with poverty and substance abuse need four things to regain their footing, – healing, housing, gainful work, and a supportive community. When one piece is missing, the investment in the other pieces usually fails to make a lasting difference. The Aboriginal Mother Centre currently provides three of these needs. The one vital piece missing is housing. By combining these resources under one roof, real changes can be possible in even the most severely dysfunctional families.

The Invitation

Builders Without Borders would like the organizations who benefit from the development of the community to contribute to the people who are creating community by helping Builders Without Borders create the facilities needed by the Aboriginal Mother Centre.

The Urban Development Institute represents the interests of the development community in Greater Vancouver. The members of the UDI have the know-how and resources to create the transitional, social, and long-term affordable housing we need.

Builders Without Borders would like to invite members of the Urban Development Institute and other community leaders to engage in a conversation about this project.

‘We can make a difference …have made a difference … look around here, talk to these mothers and kids ….. now we are ready to make a huge difference …one that changes the community by moving mothers and children off the streets and into a home and a life that contributes back to the community….that gives each child a future without crime, drugs, jail and all the hell that flows from a life wasted.’

Penny Irons, Director Aboriginal Mother Centre