What is the most rewarding aspect of the work that you do on behalf of Veterans and their families?
The New Chelsea Society was founded by Veterans in 1952 as an affordable housing society, and it has grown amazingly over the past 65 years. I think for us, the most rewarding aspect is providing safe affordable housing for Veterans. We’re located in Vancouver (local area around Van-couver) where housing is extremely expensive. Our clientele not only includes Veterans now. But over the past 65 years, from very humble beginnings, it has grown to be the third largest non-profit housing society in the lower mainland of Vancouver. We house Veterans now, and also seniors, families and people with disabilities.
For the past 10 years we’ve also operated Winch House, which is a four bedroom, three bathroom, townhouse fully disabled accessible for Veterans and first responders and members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who must come to Vancouver for medical treatment and it’s all free for them to stay there.
The reward, I think for us, is to be able to help our Veterans. I would like to add that New Chelsea was started by five Legions in the Greater Vancouver. Of course, the Legion, their main aspect is Veterans and their families, so as a Legion member and president, I am very proud to be part of New Chelsea and still help the Veterans.
Well, for the New Chelsea Society, we are growing every year. There is a lot of Royal Canadian Legion branches that have built their own housing within the lower mainland and around British Columbia and as those branches sort of want to pass on to a larger organisation. That’s happening so I think New Chelsea will see more housing complexes come under the organisation. We’re also in discussions right now with BC Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion to run a 144-unit housing complex that will be part of the Legion Veterans Village (which you may have heard of). It’s in the Surrey area and it will be a center of excellence, a center of research and assistance for Veterans with PTSD (research and medical treatment) and part of that compo-nent will be housing for Veterans, their families, seniors and people who need medical help there. We’re in discussions now that New Chelsea Society would be the housing operator of that complex and it’s going to be shaped like the Vimy Memorial (the high rise). It’s an amazing project that is happening and we’re so proud to be part of that project.
Thank you to the New Chelsea Society!