End Homelessness Now

End Homelessness Now

January 25, 2010 15:00 ET

Local Donors Helping to Improve Quality of Life for Downtown's Homeless this Winter

Inadequate facilities at First United Church Mission to be demolished for expanded washroom this Tuesday, January 27th

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 25, 2010) - As the upcoming Olympic games are about to focus a world spotlight on the city, efforts to help the homeless in the downtown core are ongoing.

At First United Church Mission, there are over 200 people sleeping in the church nightly, plus more than 100 additional people sleeping throughout the day - in 70 newly provided bunk beds, or on church pews and floors.

These numbers overwhelm the church's existing washroom facilities. On the main floor men must share one toilet, one urinal and two showers.

On Tuesday, January 27 beginning at 10am these existing facilities will be demolished to build an expanded washroom with three toilets, two urinals and four showers. 

Substantial financial support has come from BC Housing and the City of Vancouver, as well as generous donations from Kindred Construction, Concert Properties, Sean McEwen Architect, Schmidt Brothers Plumbing & Heating, Mountain West Electric, Anytime Demolition, ACM Environmental, Beatty Floors and City in Focus. First United is also grateful to an anonymous donor who provided $10,000 dollars to improve the quality of life for the downtown homeless.

"This is one simple, yet vital example of how we can all make a difference together," says Reverend Ric Matthews, "because not everyone living in this city takes a washroom or a shower for granted. Clean washrooms are a luxury for people living at the margins of our society."

The new facility will cost approximately $120,000 dollars. While most of those funds are in place, the church still needs about $20,000 to complete the project.

Since 1885, First United Church Mission on the corner of Hastings Street and Gore Avenue has been helping those most in need in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

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