• YWCA_CauseWeCareHouse_Groundbreaking_2015-01

YWCA, City of Vancouver and Vancouver Public Library Break Ground for YWCA Cause We Care House

VPL, City of Vancouver and YWCA mark project milestone

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Public Library, the City of Vancouver, and YWCA Metro Vancouver broke ground today for a new branch library and affordable housing community on East Hastings.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, VPL board chair Mary Lynn Baum, and YWCA CEO Janet Austin were part of a Coast Salish brushing-off ceremony this morning celebrating the latest milestone for VPL’s nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch and YWCA Cause We Care House.

The project – at 720 and 730 East Hastings St. – is a joint initiative that features a branch library, community and family programming, and safe, affordable housing for low-income single mothers and their children.

Budget for the project is $25 million; it will be built to LEED gold standard and is expected to open in spring 2016.

VPL’s new branch will be an estimated 11,000 square feet – making it one of the largest branches in the city’s library system – and will feature diverse public spaces, including a digital creation space; flexible meeting, programming, and community gathering spaces; and a diverse collection of books, DVDs, magazines and newspapers in English and other languages.

YWCA housing will include 21 units in a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments and roughly 4,700 square feet of community and family program space; it’s named Cause We Care House in honour of the lead donor, Cause We Care Foundation. Additional support comes from the Government of Canada, the Province of B.C., Streetohome Foundation, Ismaili Council for B.C. and other generous YWCA donors.


Mayor Gregor Robertson:

“The City of Vancouver is committed to fostering stronger neighbourhoods and continuing to build new affordable housing for many of our city’s most vulnerable residents. That’s why we’re especially proud to be a partner in this unique and innovative project, which will support low-income single mothers and their families with urgently needed new social housing, and strengthen our communities with important new library services for Strathcona, the Downtown Eastside, and Chinatown.”

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VPL board chair Mary Lynn Baum:

“This is really something to celebrate – today’s event brings Vancouver one step closer to realizing the vision for a full-service library branch to serve the Downtown Eastside, Strathcona, and Chinatown. Our community consultations heard loud and clear about the need for a larger, more visible and accessible branch library – with more access to books, activities, workshops and learning opportunities. VPL’s nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch will be a hub for families, teens and everyone in the community to gather, learn, connect and be inspired.”

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YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO Janet Austin:

“The YWCA is delighted to break ground today for YWCA Cause We Care House and are grateful to the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Public Library for this innovative partnership. YWCA Cause We Care House will build on a long history of service in the Downtown Eastside/Strathcona community and will provide safe, affordable housing for single mothers and their children, along with a range of integrated services geared to assisting residents to achieve personal and economic independence.”

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Member of Parliament for Vancouver South Wai Young, on behalf of Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development:

“We are pleased to partner with Metro Vancouver and YWCA on this terrific new project. Cause We Care House will provide important services to this community, including ensuring that single mothers and their children have a safe, secure roof over their head.”

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B.C. Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister of Responsible for Housing Rich Coleman
“Cause We Care House is a shared accomplishment that will provide the community with a new branch library and give single mothers and their children with a safe, affordable place to call home. This is an exciting and innovative partnership and the provincial government is pleased to have contributed to this project.”

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Cause We Care Foundation chair Andrea Thomas Hill:

“As we learn more about the needs of single mothers living in poverty, we realize that housing is the most critical means of change. Cause We Care is committed to helping these women and their children, and when we work with the YWCA, we know that our efforts will make a tremendous difference in the long run. We are honoured to be a part of this meaningful project.”

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Streetohome Foundation president and CEO Rob Turnbull:

“Our mandate is to fund innovative projects to help solve or prevent homelessness in Vancouver. We are delighted to support Cause We Care House, which will provide much-needed homes for vulnerable women and their children. Our hope is that the families who come to call this building and community home will find stability, safety and a brighter future.”

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Ismaili Council for B.C. president Samira Alibhai:

“The Ismaili Muslim community of B.C. has a long history of partnerships with diverse organizations in Vancouver to further the mandate of partner organizations and to give back to the local community. Our partnership with the YWCA to raise awareness and funds for YWCA Cause We Care House has been tremendous and we look forward to seeing this initiative help some of the most vulnerable women in society.”


Media contact:
Chantelle Krish
Manager, Advocacy and Public Relations
604 895 5767

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