Vancouver Native Housing Society is dedicated to providing safe, secure, affordable housing for Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and families living in the urban setting.
Vancouver Native Housing Society is a registered charity and non-profit society. VNHS is proudly governed by an all Indigenous Board of Directors. VNHS employs approximately 100 people.
VNHS was founded in 1984 and manages a portfolio of 18 buildings with over 800 units.
VNHS works in partnership with federal and provincial government agencies to subsidize tenant rent contributions and achieve affordability for individuals and families with low incomes.
In 1984 the primary funding agency was the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which provided subsidies through the Urban Native Housing Program. In 1997 the responsibility for funding all housing programs was transferred to BC Housing; all developments and acquisitions after 1997 were done in partnership with this provincial housing agency. In 2013, BC Housing transferred responsibility for administration of VNHS housing subsidies to the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA).
Although our original and ongoing mandate is to prioritize the housing needs of urban Indigenous communities, we have expanded our operations to include housing solutions for non-Indigenous families and individuals, seniors, youth, women at risk, persons living with mental illness, as well as those who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. Recognizing that providing housing alone is not enough, some VNHS buildings include on-site support services. In all of our housing developments, we strive to help connect our tenants to all available resources in the community when needed.
In recent years the Society has embraced the social enterprise model. In the face of declining government financial support, we work with tenants, artists and the community at large, to build economic and individual capacity by adopting an entrepreneurial approach. Our two social enterprise ventures are the Urban Aboriginal Art Gallery and Skwachays Lodge, both established in 2012.