So­cial-hous­ing work­ers shut out

Non-prof­its may have to start of­fer­ing sub­si­dized hous­ing to staff to at­tract work­ers

StarMetro Vancouver - - VANCOUVER - WANYEE LI ME­LANIE GREEN

One of Bri­tish Columbia’s largest non-profit em­ploy­ers says the hous­ing cri­sis in Van­cou­ver has got­ten so bad it has cre­ated a staffing short­age for the very or­ga­ni­za­tions that pro­vide so­cial hous­ing.

As hous­ing costs in the city re­main un­af­ford­able for many peo­ple, non-prof­its may even have to start of­fer­ing sub­si­dized hous­ing for their staff in or­der to at­tract work­ers, said Jen­nifer Break­s­pear, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Port­land Ho­tel So­ci­ety.

Her or­ga­ni­za­tion em­ploys nearly 750 peo­ple to op­er­ate dozens of sup­port­ive-hous­ing projects. The non-profit, like many in the sup­port­ive-hous­ing in­dus­try, is hav­ing trou­ble fill­ing shifts on a daily ba­sis, Jen­nifer Break­s­pear, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Port­land Ho­tel So­ci­ety, sug­gests non-prof­its may have to start of­fer­ing sub­si­dized hous­ing for staff in or­der to at­tract work­ers.

she said. The so­ci­ety pays its staff at least the liv­ing wage, in Van­cou­ver, that’s $20.91 per hour, but Break­s­pear said many em­ploy­ees still ei­ther com­mute to work from as far away as Mis­sion or live in their ve­hi­cles.

Break­s­pear said Port­land Ho­tel So­ci­ety has been in con­stant “hir­ing mode” since she started at the or­ga­ni­za­tion two years ago. The “staffing cri­sis” has reached new heights in the last few months, she said. Many Port­land

Ho­tel So­ci­ety build­ings only have one per­son staffing on the week­ends, even though two peo­ple is the stan­dard.

Char­i­ties face trou­ble hir­ing work­ers at thes­tar.com/van­cou­ver

— Kelowna and Ed­mon­ton — are po­si­tioned to be com­mer­cial real-es­tate “hot spots” for Canada’s post-le­gal­iza­tion cannabis mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

Both cities are ex­pected to see sig­nif­i­cant com­mer­cial growth, the an­nual in­vestor re­port from real-es­tate firm Re/max Com­mer­cial found. That’s be­cause le­gal­iza­tion is pro­vid­ing a “new seg­ment” of de­mand, es­pe­cially for re­tail space, said El­ton Ash, re­gional ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent at Re/max Western Canada.

“There is ob­vi­ously un­cer­tainty as to how com­mer­cial re­tail prices will be af­fected in the fu­ture,” Ash said in a phone in­ter­view. “But the bot­tom line of the re­port is there will be greater pres­sure on re­tail out­lets on all mar­kets across Western Canada based on cannabis de­mand.”

The cannabis in­dus­try is “slowly” ab­sorb­ing ex­ist­ing in­dus­trial spa­ces and de­vel­op­ment lands, which con­trib­uted to the rise in lease rates, he added.

Western Canada will be a cannabis com­mer­cial real-es­tate ‘hot spot,’ says re­port

Kelowna has more than 900 re­tail spa­ces that could host cannabis com­pa­nies. More at thes­tar.com/van­cou­ver

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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