frequently asked questions

Q: What does RainCity Housing do?

A: We provide housing and supports that are responsive to the people we work with. We strive to do this on their terms, while building and maintaining partnerships with health and social service providers. Rather than seeing homelessness as one issue, we recognize the diversity of reasons people have become homeless and work to develop responses to support them to move forward in their lives.

Q: Where does RainCity Housing operate?

A: While our roots are in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, we now have more programs outside that neighbourhood than in it, operating in Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, Maple Ridge, the Sunshine Coast — a range of communities that allow us to learn from different approaches, adapt, and change.

Q: Who does RainCity Housing work with?

A: Each person who has become homeless has their own unique story. Many have been homeless in the past, some for decades, some for only days. Some people are living with mental health and substance use issues, others with the impacts of trauma, and almost all have experienced homelessness.

Q: How does someone apply to live in a RainCity Housing building?

A: There are a number of ways to apply, so please read this one pager and follow the next steps.

Q: Where does RainCity Housing get its funding?

A: Most of our funding is from the Provincial Government and some is from the Federal Government. We receive donations from all over North America and those donations go towards important programming and services - like meal programs - that are not covered by our government funders. If you'd like to donate, it's easy, safe and secure. Donate now!

Q: How can I donate to RainCity Housing?

A: There are a number of ways. Donate online through our secure network, call us with your credit card number, or mail in a cheque.

Q: Does RainCity operate Modular Housing?

A: Not yet! We are getting closer to opening Modular Housing buildings in Sechelt and Chilliwack, and Temporary Modular Housing in Richmond. They can be built and made available to people who may be homeless very quickly, and are going up throughout the province of BC. Check out the research behind modular housing, or see how they're designed.

Q: Does RainCity operate Overdose Prevention Sites?

A: We do! An Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) provides a place where people who use drugs can be safely monitored and treated immediately if they overdose. It can also offer drug testing. Ours operates at St Paul’s Hospital. For more information read about OPS at our Innovations page.

Q: Does RainCity operate Winter Response Shelters?

A: We do! Since 2008 we have operated at least two each winter. These shelters have block funding and stay open for several months (most of ours operate 24 hours a day) over the winter. See more information at BC Housing’s website.

Q: Does RainCity operate EWR Shelters?

A: We don’t. Emergency Weather Response (EWR) Shelters open only in extreme weather and are usually open overnight, not during the day. Head over to BC Housing’s website for a provincial map showing where they’re located and when they’re open.

our complaint process

We can always do better!

RainCity Housing values the people who access our services, their families, and our partners. If you (or someone you know) feel that you’ve received poor service, we want to hear about it.

Complaints can be made in person, by phone, in an email, or a handwritten note. Details of a complaint will only be shared with those who need to know. We know that literacy may be a barrier for some people and will work with individuals to ensure that they can fully access the complaints process.

Here are the five steps

Step One: People can bring their complaints directly to the RainCity staff person involved. Staff receiving a complaint, if possible and appropriate, will work to resolve the issue.

Step Two: If the complaint is not resolved or a person chooses to not use step one, the person can either speak to the assistant manager or manager directly, or provide them with a written complaint.

Step Three: If the complaint is not resolved at step two, or the complaint involves the Manager, the person can contact the Director responsible for the relevant program and either speak to them or provide them with a written complaint.

Step Four: If the complaint has not been resolved at step three, the person can ask for a review. The Review Committee will include one Director (Chair), one Manager, and one peer worker from another program(s). If the person making the complaint agrees that the issue has been resolved then the person will be given something in writing that outlines the resolution.

Step Five: If the complaint is not resolved at step three or four, the person can make a written complaint to the Executive Director. The Executive Director will review the complaint and decide on next steps and communicate these steps to the person making the complaint. Decisions at this level are final for RainCity Housing. If the person making the complaint wishes to further appeal after this step, they will be provided with information about how to contact appropriate external authorities.