• YWCA Como Lake Mews Rendering

Working together for a brighter future - YWCA new housing projects

Unique partnerships on innovative housing projects for women and their children

In winter 2009, Maria* fled her home with her two children to take refuge in a shelter. Her Canadian husband, who was addicted to drugs, had become increasingly abusive - hitting their son and threatening to kill her. Learning about YWCA Munroe House could not have come at a better time, as Maria was facing deportation and stood to lose custody of her children. She was accepted at Munroe House, a transition house for women and children leaving abuse, where residents can stay up to nine months.

“The YWCA saved us and supported me throughout my difficulties,” says Maria. Her legal processes took two years, but soon after receiving her permanent resident status, Maria found a job and moved on to YWCA Semlin Gardens, a long-term safe, affordable housing community for low-income single mothers and their children. Maria excelled at her work and was offered a higher-paid position. She was able to move out of Semlin Gardens, but stays in touch with the YWCA.

“Access to safe, affordable housing is a significant barrier for many single mothers trying to escape poverty and/or leave abusive relationships. Building more supportive housing communities continues to be key priority for the YWCA,” says Arthur Mills, Vice-President of YWCA Housing.

YWCA Fire Hall Project *

The YWCA and City of Vancouver are partnering on another innovative housing project located at East 54th Avenue and Kerr Street. Thirty-one two- and three-bedroom units will be built above the redeveloped fire hall. This project will provide much-needed safe and affordable housing for women and their children. The location is excellent as it is near elementary schools, grocery stores and a community centre.

* Update (July 2016): This housing community is now named YWCA Pacific Spirit Terraces.

YWCA Como Lake Mews

Through a partnership with Beedie Living, the YWCA will build seven new two- and three-bedroom townhouse units located next to YWCA Como Lake Gardens at 520 Como Lake Avenue. The YWCA townhouse units will be a part of the Beedie Living development – a 26-storey residential tower located west of Como Lake Avenue.  Similar to other YWCA supportive housing communities, this new development will provide women and their children with a supportive and caring environment.  Como-Lake Gardens’ community development worker will connect tenants to resources such as child care, legal education and employment services.  

New year, new beginning

Smart, thoughtful and optimistic, Maria continues to focus on her two children and now her new job. Seven months ago she joined the YWCA as a maintenance worker overseeing the YWCA housing communities. “I am so grateful and extremely thankful to have the YWCA support,” says Maria. “This is why I want to work for the YWCA and continue contributing in any way I can.”

To learn more and to donate to these new housing campaigns, please contact Kathy Lilyholm at 604 895 5851 / klilyholm@ywcavan.org.

*Name has been changed