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B.C. purchases Chinatown seniors affordable housing complex at risk of being sold

August 2, 2023

By CBC News

The B.C. government has purchased a 33-unit building with affordable housing geared to seniors in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood that was at risk of being sold privately.

The province paid $16.4 million through B.C. Housing for the Harmony House complex, located at 588 Shanghai Alley and operated by social service agency S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

The agency will continue to own and operate the strata units, while the provincial government will own the building.

“When our government learned that Harmony House and its 33 rentals were at risk for private sale, we were very concerned,” Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon told reporters at a news conference in Vancouver on Wednesday.

“This building has been such a valuable resource for the community, providing affordable housing for seniors, with assisted living supports for years.”

Resident Linda Chung told reporters that she and her husband, who has dementia, are very happy at Harmony House and feel taken care of and supported by the nurses and staff.

Residents of the 19 studio units and 14 one-bedroom suites at Harmony House receive rent supplements from B.C. Housing and Vancouver Coastal Health, and have access to individualized personal care and hospitality services.

However, they must also pay 70 per cent of their after-tax income to live in the building.

“The average size of suites ranges from 470 to 589 square feet. All suites are equipped with fridge, full-size range/oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer,” according to an information sheet posted to the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. website.

A  S.U.C.C.E.S.S. report published this January says there’s a severe shortage of culturally appropriate housing options for seniors in the Chinatown area.

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