what’s new

Families helping families – again!

This is our third time partnering with the North Shore Schizophrenia Society to provide this absolutely free resource!  Families Supporting Relatives with a Mental Illness is a 12 session course in their Family-to-Family education series. The course is taught by trained family members who themselves have ill relatives and many years’ experience dealing with the system. It will be of particular interest to families whose relatives have recently been diagnosed.

Tuesday evenings – 7pm to 9:30pm

Sept 22 to Dec 8, 2015 – 5616 Fraser Street, Vancouver

Topics covered include:

  • Symptoms of the illnesses – bipolar, schizophrenia, clinical depression, anxiety
  • Medications and communication
  • Problem solving
  • Advice on working with the system
  • Looking after yourself as a caregiver


While it is free, it’s bound to fill up fast, so be sure to contact Melanie Scott to register: 604.926.0856.

Course details can be found at the North Shore Schizophrenia Society’s website.


Are you a superhero?

The theme for Vancouver’s Pride this year is Gender Superheroes and for the first time at RainCity, a specific program (both tenants and staff) put together our Parade entry – our LGBTQ2S* Housing for Youth! The amazing folks living at and involved in this project are inspiring, courageous, strong, and really, really funny; all the ingredients needed for a superhero!

It wasn’t always the case. Hundreds and thousands of people may be cheering them on as they march by, but it was a single person that made a difference, that inspired them or made a complicated life make sense, maybe for the first time. Mentors can be superheroes in disguise. They might have taken off the cape or tossed the tights, but their experience and wisdom are their super powers, and they will never fade.

We need superheroes!

Does this sound like you? Sharing your lived experience and the not so simple fact that you survived is something worth sharing. The youth living at and involved with our LGBTQ2S* project need to become part of communities where they fell safe and heard. If you think this is something you want to do, read more about our  mentorship program.

David is someone who benefited from our program. Read what he had to say.

And Aaron Munro, Team Lead for this project, spoke to CBC TV earlier this week about the need for LGBTQ2S* housing for youth. Watch what he had to say.

It’s taken a while for RainCity Housing to get this project off the ground, and the Vancouver Foundation was the first funder to promise funding and they stuck around until we were able to get the rest – Thank you!

So as you’re marching, or cheering, or celebrating all that’s important to you this Pride, remember the heroes, the superheroes that the youth have become, and the mentors that are helping them get there.

3030 Gordon Ave July 2015 Update!

Hey, it’s been a while. Let’s get to it…

Safety gear required!

After the last 3030 Gordon Working Group meeting, we had a tour – inside and out – of the building. RainCity’s Property Manager George Simpson (with his arm raised) was our host and as you’ll see, the completion of the building is growing by leaps and bounds. And we had to wear the gear: hardhats, high visibility vest, and steel toe gumboots.


Safe from trains

Then we headed to the back of the property, where the south(ish) wall is going up. It’s sort of cool, as it’s a prefab tongue and grove assembly that connects at each post.

Wall behind 3030 Gordon

On the exterior wall of the building facing the train tracks, the cladding has already begun to be applied. It’s a two tone scheme that’s hard to make out in shade.

Cladding on 3030 Gordon

But the sun did make everything a little more beautiful. And really hot in all our safety gear!

Sunny behind 3030 Gordon


Inside and dry(walled)

Once inside we were able to really see the speed of the contractor Ventana’s process. The rooms on the top two floors are already being drywalled in. This room is one of the amenity spaces (one of three) where we’ll be able to bring an additional 30 folks inside during extreme weather.

Amenity drywawlled 3030 Gordon

And here is one of the rooms on the top floor, already painted a serene yellow with the moldings starting to go in.

painted room at 3030 gordon

Will we see you at the CAC?

One of the next steps is to arrange a date for the first CAC (Community Advisory Committee) meeting. If you’ve already emailed us expressing interest, you’ll be getting an email before the end of August with details about the meeting and the role of the CAC. But it’s not too late to let us know you’re interested. Just email Bill Briscall, bbriscall@raincityhousing.org and let him know.

Enjoy the summer sun but don’t get too much of it. And be sure to check out what other great things are happening at RainCity like our newly opened building, the Budzey, or just head over to Facebook.

The DTES just got a little better.

We are so excited to announce that women and families have begun moving into our newest building, the Budzey. Both unique to the Downtown Eastside and to RainCity Housing, the Budzey has 105 units of housing for women (trans* and cis), and 41 units for women led families. Below is a view of the north shore mountains from the rooftop patio of the Budzey.

Why provide housing for women and women with children?

Because of some powerful statistics:

  • Women experience higher rates of poverty and isolation than men (Census 2006);
  • Women account for 56% of Canadians with low incomes;
  • One in five families with children is led by a single woman; and
  • 42% of those families experience housing affordability problems.

What will happen there?

“We want to develop this project using a gender and diversity lens that will allow a healthy, vibrant community to flourish, that will be safe for all.” Amelia Ridgway, Acting associate Director explains. Staff focus on activities that strengthen the community. Some of the provided services will be:

  • Access to childcare and child care related support services;
  • Liaising with community services and partners;
  • A peer based programming within the building;
  • Community kitchen nights for women and family; and
  • A parent resource centre and a youth recreation program.

Why is it called the Budzey Building?

Lorna Budzey was a resident of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for many years. She became known to RainCity Housing at their first shelter, Triage, and was one of first people to challenge the organization to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone that we work with. She experienced many travesties throughout her life, but was always vibrant, charismatic and had an amazing sense of humour. Lorna died in the summer of 2000.

Like what’s taking place at the Budzey? Donate directly to that program right now!


3030 Gordon Ave May 2015 Update!

Welcome back! The official event in April went off without a hitch, and we just squeezed in all the speakers before the first train went by. Many guests came to show their support of the project, including all three Mayors from the Tri-Cities. Sean and Bill also presented a delegation to Port Moody Mayor and Council at the end of April, which was well received.

From left to right are: Douglas Horne, MLA for Coquitlam – Burke Mountain; Linda Reimer, MLA for Port Moody – Coquitlam; Mayor of Coquitlam Richard Stewart; Sean Spear, Associate Director at RainCity Housing; the Hon. James Moore, MP for Port Moody – Westwood – Port Coquitlam, and the Chair of RainCity Housing’s Board, Stacey Morrison.

So fast!

The windows are in and the roof is on. This is a big hurdle in a primarily wood structure, as it’s easier (and more pleasant) working in dry environment. You won’t see as much upward structural progress from the outside, but inside the contractors are making it beautiful.

Door to door is done!

Dwayne and Bill finished their visits to the surrounding residents and businesses. Many folks weren’t home, but those that were took time to talk about the new project. Some had concerns, others felt it was greatly needed, but everyone they talked to appreciated having a chance to share their thoughts. We look forward to hearing more from our neighbours having their valued input on our Community Advisory Committee, or CAC for short.

Still want to get involved?

We have a number of people interested in being on the CAC (you know who you are!), but are always looking for people as members or alternates, as well as folks that want to receive the minutes, but are unable to be at meetings. Just email Bill at bbriscall@raincityhousing.org to let him know what you’re interested in.

Look for the next update over the summer!


It’s now even easier to donate to RainCity!

We’ve just launched our direct donation page and we really like it. Why? Because it’s not only super easy for you to use, but now each donation goes directly into our accounts on the same day! That means the money can make changes for folks faster than ever before. Plus, you’ll get your tax receipt within minutes (maybe even seconds) after you make the donation.

So spread the news! If you’ve never donated to RainCity before, now’s the perfect time. Or tomorrow. Or next month. Or whenever you want – it’s that easy!

3030 Gordon Almost April 2015 Update!

Here! We! Go! Dwayne and Bill continue going door to door and will be finishing up by the middle of April, spending most of that time in PoCo. More folks have signed up for either updates, to receive minutes from the CAC (Community Advisory Committee), or become a member of the CAC. We’re really happy that you’re showing your support and interest in the project this way. Makes us feel welcomed to the community – thank you!

Up, up, up!

The building is now at its full height and it should be completely roofed in by the end of April. Here are some recent pics:

It’s time to get official!

Next Wednesday, April 8 at 10:30am, all levels of government are coming together at 3030 Gordon Avenue in Coquitlam to recognize the amazing progress of the building, and also recognize the community and the political will that made it happen in the first place. It will be a short but sweet affair, with media to boot. And there’ll be doughnuts. Mmmmm – doughnuts!!!

Want to get more involved?

Even if Bill and Dwayne didn’t drop by for a visit with their info, you can still stay in touch by emailing Bill at bbriscall@raincityhousing.org and letting him know how you’d like to receive info or updates.

Look for the next update in May!





3030 Gordon Ave February 2015 Update!

Hello and welcome to our second 3030 Gordon Ave update. We’ve been busy. The building is a little bigger and the neighbours know us a little better.

Door to Door (to door, to door…)

Over the last three weeks our Communications Manager, Bill Briscall and Dwayne from Hope For Freedom (see the photo below – Bill is the one holding the “information“) have been going door to door providing information about the building, RainCity Housing, and ways to get more involved. So far they’ve been to over 140 households, 80 businesses, and have spoken with over 50 residents. They still have more to do, so be on the lookout for Dwayne and Bill’s smiling faces!

We’re getting emails from people wanting to receive updates and already have a few people that wish to be on the Community Advisory Committee (CAC). There’s more info about the CAC here.

Port Coquitlam Council

On Monday, Feb 23, Associate Director Sean Spear and Communications Manager Bill Briscall presented a delegation to Port Coquitlam’s Mayor and Council. It’s important to have the City of Port Coquitlam’s support, as while the 3030 Gordon is in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam is only a block away. Mayor Moore and Council raised some great points about working cohesively with groups like Hope For Freedom, and thanked us for the update.

Still lots of time to be a part of it!

You can sign up to receive updates on this project via email any time by emailing Bill Briscall at bbriscall@raincityhousing.org or you can let him know if you are thinking of becoming a member of the CAC.

Stay tuned for the next update!

3030 Gordon Avenue January 2015 Update!

We promised to provide updates to this project and here is the first! The construction is moving along quickly. After the ground clearing the pile driving began, and we’re very grateful that our future neighbours took the constant hammering during that step it in stride. Now the foundation is being formed and the building will soon began to take shape.

Presenting to Council

On Monday, January 12, our Associate Director overseeing this project, Sean Spear, presented a delegation to City of Coquitlam’s Mayor and Council in order to provide an update on the 3030 Gordon Avenue project. The Mayor stressed the importance of working cohesively with the established service providers in the Tri-Cities. We look forward to making new partnerships and have already enjoyed over two years as active members of the Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group.

In the news!

You can read about the project and our delegation to Council at both the Tri-Cities News and the Tri-Cities Now. And look for more stories about this project in the Tri-Cities media in the coming months!

Reaching out…

We will be reaching out to the neighbouhood in the coming weeks to introduce ourselves, provide a little info, and find out if folks living near the project want to receive email updates on the project, or consider becoming members of the Community Advisory Committee, or CAC. This committee will be formed prior to the building opening its doors, and will be a forum RainCity and our neighbours to freely exchange information, celebrate successes, and discuss issues and concerns that may impact the neighbours, ultimately working towards constructive solutions.

Be a part of it!

If you wish to receive updates on this project via email, or are thinking of becoming a member of the CAC, please email Bill Briscall at bbriscall@raincityhousing.org and let him know what your interest is.

Stay tuned for the next update!


We are looking for board members!

Are you passionate about ending homelessness, someone who leaves your judgments at the door and wears your heart on your sleeve? Are you a crusader for humanity? Then you should seriously consider being on our Board!

A little bit about RainCity Housing

Our vision is simple yet challenging and layered: a home for every person. RainCity Housing provides innovative, specialized housing and support services for people living with mental illness, addictions and other challenges. By designing programs based on research, assessment, evaluation, and implementation of best practices, RainCity Housing is leading the way in developing solutions to end homelessness.

What our Board does

The role of the RainCity Housing’s Board of Directors is one of oversight and governance. Board officers are assigned responsibility for certain areas, but carries out its responsibilities with one voice. We ensure that our activities and decisions are in alignment with the values and philosophies of RainCity Housing.

Your opportunity

We are welcoming new Board members who care about people who occupy the margins of society, and have interest and background in the following areas:

  • Harm reduction philosophy and practices
  • Homelessness issues and ‘housing first’ approach
  • Mental health and addiction challenges
  • The approximate hours required from Board Members can be up to 4 hours per month with a term length of two years.

Help us affect change.

We like more than just qualifications. RainCity is rooted in passion and innovation. Tell us what being a member of our Board truly means to you. To find out what we’re looking for in an ideal board member, click here.

If you’re interested in joining our Board and using your talent and insights to help us achieve our vision of a home for every person, we invite you to submit a confidential CV to mng@raincityhousing.org.

Thank you for your interest!