L'Arche halfway to fundraising goal to build new home

New building will provide homes, services and more for people with and without developmental disabilities

L’Arche Greater Vancouver is halfway to its $30 million fundraising goal to redevelop its Burnaby property to provide more homes and programming space.

At a Monday press conference representatives from the charity announced they had raised approximately $15 million from B.C Housing, the City of Burnaby, the Sisters of St. Anne and more. 

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The money will help pay for a new three-storey wood-frame building that will replace its existing Sussex Avenue headquarters. 

The new building will include three “homes” where people with and without developmental disabilities live in a communal setting, 10 independent units and 29 affordable housing units. There will also be community inclusion spaces, a rooftop garden and offices.  

The communal living approach means this new facility will provide more than a place to sleep for many, L’Arche’s executive director, Denise Haskett, said. 

“Our vision ... which is the core to L'Arche, is about creating community,” she said. “The people that live in that building will have an opportunity to be part of a wonderful community of people.”

Haskett said residents from two of the three existing homes have already been relocated to other L’Arche properties in anticipation of the demolition and redevelopment of the current building. The charity is working on finding places for residents of the third home, she said.

L’Arche, a charity started in France that provides homes and services for people with developmental disabilities, has been in operation in Burnaby since 1974. 

As part of its We All Belong campaign, the organization hopes to raise another $15 million for the project. If it can raise that money before breaking ground on the new Sussex building, L’arche will avoid incurring debt and will be more able to provide services and supports, she said.

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