Government of Canada

Government of Canada

May 25, 2006 19:28 ET

Government of Canada: Newly Renovated Housing Benefits People with Mental Illnesses

VANCOUVER, BRITISH-COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - May 25, 2006) - A $2-million renovation to a heritage building will provide more housing options for people with mental health issues in the Downtown Eastside, provincial, federal and community partners said today

The Hampton Hotel, a class C heritage building, underwent extensive renovations and now offers 46 upgraded units of single-room housing that will be managed by the Motivation, Power and Achievement (MPA) Society. The units provide clean, secure and supported independent living for residents of the Downtown Eastside.

"The Government of Canada is pleased to be a partner in funding this project to support housing options for those living with serious mental disabilities," said the Honourable Diane Finley, federal Minister of Human Resources and Social Development. "It is well known that a high proportion of homeless people also live with mental illness, and the Hampton Hotel is making a difference in the lives of these individuals."

"The improvement to the Hampton Hotel will provide people with mental illnesses the opportunity to live independently in their own community," said Lorne Mayencourt, MLA for Vancouver--Burrard. "Tenants are housed in a supportive location and can take advantage of programs through a community resource centre where training and therapy are provided to help them live healthy and safe lives."

"Shelter is one of the foundations upon which healthy communities and individual dignity are built, and it requires a collaborative approach among many committed partners," said Maureen Whyte, Chief Operating Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health.

Vancouver Coastal Health, working with the Motivation, Power and Achievement Society, is providing an annual operating subsidy for an array of services, such as a meal program, housekeeping, laundry services and recreational opportunities for residents, as well as 24-hour staff support and psychosocial programs to help tenants live in a safe and rehabilitative environment.

The Motivation, Power and Achievement Society has been assisting people with mental illnesses since 1971. The non-profit organization manages several other housing developments for people with mental health issues, as well as the Mental Health Empowerment Advocacy Program, individual advocacy programs, and the Community Resource Centre that offers hot meals and community support for the homeless.

"At MPA, we believe everyone should be encouraged to function as independently as possible," said Roberta Chapman, Executive Director of Motivation, Power and Achievement Society. "This development will empower 46 members of our community to live better lives."

"With the opening of the Hampton Hotel, MPA is making an outstanding contribution towards implementing the Regional Homelessness Plan," said Cheryl Prepchuk, Chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness. "The Regional Plan emphasizes the importance of housing, support services and adequate income as the three key elements of the solution to homelessness. The Hampton Hotel integrates two of these elements in one building to help people with serious mental health issues stabilize their lives."

Government of Canada funding for this project is provided in the spirit of the Vancouver Agreement, a partnership whereby the federal and provincial governments and the City of Vancouver are working with community groups and businesses to address pressing issues concerning health, housing, homelessness, socio-economic development and public safety.

Funding for the project was also provided through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to owners of property occupied by low-income households to make necessary repairs to bring their properties up to minimum health and safety standards.

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The renovation of the class C heritage building, the Hampton Hotel, located at 122 Powell Street in downtown Vancouver, will provide 46 units of supported housing for adults with serious and persistent mental illnesses, and be managed by Motivation, Power and Achievement Society.

Tenants at the single-room occupancy (SRO) building pay $325 per month for rent, which includes some meals, housekeeping, laundry services and recreational opportunities. The residence also provides 24-hour staff support and psychosocial programs to help tenants live in a safe and rehabilitative environment.

The total capital cost is over $2.3 million, with the Government of Canada's National Homelessness Initiative providing $965,000 in capital funding and tenant relocation support. Other funding includes the following:

- a $467,679 grant from the CMHC Residential Rehabilitation
Assistance Program;
- a $555,000 capital grant from the Province through BC Housing;
- a $355,000 capital grant and $650,000 in yearly operating subsidy
from Vancouver Coastal Health; and
- a $375,741 donation from Motivation, Power and Achievement Society.

The Motivation, Power and Achievement (MPA) Society was founded in 1971 and was known until 2005 as the Mental Patients Association. The society's mission is to promote the dignity and well-being of people living with mental illness. MPA manages 10 other supported housing locations and has nine licensed housing locations, which provide 24-hour care to individuals with psychiatric disorders.

The society also runs a mental health advocacy program that assists over 3,000 members a year, a community resource centre that offers a hot meal program (25,000 meals a year) and community support for the homeless, and hospital-wide and individual advocacy programs at Riverview Hospital.

Contact Information

  • BC Housing
    Larisa Saunders
    Corporate Communications
    (604) 439-4757 or (604) 505-4156
    Vancouver Coastal Health
    Viviana Zanocco
    (604) 612-8053
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Helen Davies
    (604) 666-2859
    Motivation, Power and Achievement Society
    Lynda Kennedy
    Director of Development
    (604) 482-3717