Are you concerned about the cost of living and the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver? Is it preventing you, or someone you know, from feeling connected to the Jewish community? Tikva Housing Society in collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and with the support of the Jewish Community Foundation is conducting a housing needs assessment to understand and address the growing concern about affordable and appropriate housing options for the Greater Vancouver Jewish community.
The Jewish community includes you. Affiliated or not, your thoughts and stories of your experiences are important because they will help determine how we can best support the diverse and widespread Jewish population. Since the late 1870s, our community has settled in Vancouver and moved within the city as new immigration and neighborhoods were established. By the 1960s, the heart of the Jewish community stretched the Oak Street corridor, into Kerrisdale and Marpole. In recent years, families are transferring to more affordable areas, such as Richmond, White Rock, Burnaby, Coquitlam and the Fraser Valley.
The housing climate and overall population growth in Vancouver is impacting every ethnic and cultural community. According to the 2011 Statistics Canada Census, there are 26,245 members of the Jewish community living in Greater Vancouver. Of these, 4,220 Jewish people are living in poverty, including 450 children. For most, housing is often more than 50 percent of a person’s income, leaving little left for food, clothing, transportation and other costs that enable a balanced lifestyle with connections to the Jewish community. People with mental health concerns, disabilities, seniors, single parents and women fleeing abuse are among those struggling most to get by. Also vulnerable are young adults attempting to become independent while still remaining connected to the communities they call home.
Since 1948, Vancouver Jewish community organizations have successfully contributed land, buildings and grants towards affordable housing. Many of these initiatives have been in partnership with government and private partners, resulting in the management of close to 700 affordable housing units. Tikva Housing is very aware of the current issues and is working towards accessing opportunities for safe, affordable housing primarily for working-age, Jewish, low-income adults and families.
Your voice is extremely important for us. We would like every Jewish person in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland to tell us how to address their housing concerns, to enable them to either remain in, or move to, the community that best meets their needs.
Please take five to 10 minutes to complete the confidential questionnaire at surveymonkey.com/s/tikvahousingsurvey.
Tikva Housing will also be holding focus groups throughout the Greater Vancouver area to complement this information. If you need help completing the survey, would like to participate in a focus group or speak with the housing researcher, contact Hazel Orpen at [email protected] or call 604-563-3309.