May 27th, 2009
Globe and Mail – Housing plan flourishes as market slumps
Group seizes chance to ease homelessness in New Westminster with space left over from commercial reno jobs that were put on hold
Globe and Mail
Wednesday, May. 27, 2009
The economic downturn has resulted in a short-term shot in the arm for affordable housing in New Westminster.
With development plans for a trio of heritage buildings sidelined as a result of a deep chill in commercial real-estate financing, developer Robert Fung has turned over one of the buildings for use as social housing.
The building, which was vacant when Mr. Fung’s Salient Group acquired it in 2005, is to be managed by the non-profit Atira Women’s Resource Society and will provide 23 units for women and children who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.
Provincial agency B.C. Housing has provided some financial assistance to renovate the building.
Salient has committed to the arrangement for at least two years. The neighbouring buildings have interim tenants.
“Philosophically we don’t like vacant space, because it has such a negative impact on the street,” said Mr. Fung, whose company has tackled several high-profile renovations of heritage buildings in Gastown and who sits on the board of Vancouver’s Streettohome Foundation.