Social Housing in BC has a long and rich history working with volunteer nonprofit groups. They include service clubs, fraternal organizations, faith-based groups, representative agencies, and many more. What they all have in common is a commitment to a better life for their clients and tenants. They provide the humanity in housing.
There are over 100,000 households in BC today that receive rent assistance or live some form of social housing. Governments have for decades-built housing focused on the need of communities. It can be family, seniors, mental health, addictions, supportive and other types of housing. Building new is important, maintaining and preserving older housing is also important.
From 2006 to 2017 over fifty buildings were purchased, restored and saved for affordable housing stock. Over the same period thousands of units were renovated and given a new longer life. Thousands more were built. None of which couldn’t be accomplished without those I consider to be the Heroes in housing, the nonprofit groups I mentioned.
The project in this picture is the Oliver Kiwanis Seniors building. This building was reaching the end of its life and coming to the crossroads of renovation or demolition. It could have been the latter if not for the commitment of the society president Larry Larson and his board. The building needed a refit, modernization, and frankly a focus that only passionate volunteers can bring to the table.
Larry and his board also brought corporate knowledge which was critical to the aging Kiwanis project. The long serving volunteers knew the building and its challenges. The building was constructed at a time when blueprints were not preserved as they are on buildings today. We needed their knowledge of plumbing, electrical, and structural challenges.
So, what happened? The building has a new life including exterior and interior upgrades. The upgrades new windows, doors, better hallway air exchange, heating and cooling systems, sprinkler system, and much, much more. Oliver and British Columbia should be proud of the commitment of Larry Larson, his board, and the Kiwanis.
Rich Coleman a Member of the Legislative Assembly. He was first elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2017. Coleman represents the riding of Langley East as a Liberal Party member. Both men in the picture above – former members of the RCMP.