New ISS Welcome House Centre Breaks Ground on World Refugee Day
Today, June 20th, is UN designated World Refugee Day, a fitting date to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the new Immigrant Services Society of BC Welcome House Centre (ISS of BC).
Slated to open in 2016, this first-of-its-kind-in-the-world, 58,000 square foot integrated refugee services facility will bring together numerous organizations providing support for refugees and immigrants in Metro Vancouver. In addition to new ISS corporate services offices, organizations like the Inland Refugee Society, Settlement Orientation Services, and the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture will take up residence in the new facility. Future clients of the Centre will have access to transitional housing, medical services, trauma care, child care, legal counselling, banking facilities and other essential tools needed to start a new life – all under one roof.
Integrating all services into a centralized hub will significantly enhance ISS of BC’s ability to provide help and operate at optimal efficiency, while also reducing stress for new refugees and immigrants who otherwise need to travel around an unfamiliar city, to multiple different locations, to gain the support they desperately need.
Global conflicts force millions of individuals and families each year to flee their homes under dire circumstances. World Refugee Day is a tribute to these individuals and their strength in surviving a reality that many of us cannot imagine. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new ISS Welcome House Centre honoured this courage and heralds in a new benchmark for inclusive, leading edge immigrant and refugee support.
The ceremony held at the site of the new facility, (2610 Victoria Drive, Vancouver), included Mayor Gregor Robertson, Suzanne Anton (Attorney General & Minister of Justice), a former ISS refugee client from Somalia, and many other supporters. Members of our team also joined the celebration – we are incredibly proud to be the architect for this important project.