East Vancouver housing project will keep Chinese seniors close to Chinatown

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      A Chinese clan association is proposing to provide affordable housing for elderly Chinese in East Vancouver.

      Lee’s Benevolent Association of Canada has purchased a site on East Hastings Street between Hawks and Campbell avenues for this purpose.

      The location is near Chinatown, which the association deems will be of great benefit to Chinese seniors who will live in the future development.

      “Lee’s Benevolent believes this project is a great opportunity for…aging Chinese seniors in the neighbourhood to remain close to the Chinatown community with its associated sense of community, social opportunities, shopping, groceries, produce, and other supports,” according to a letter by George Lee to the City of Vancouver.

      Lee was writing on behalf of the association regarding its application to rezone the location for a six-storey mixed-use building.

      The development will provide 39 housing units for seniors on levels two to six. The ground floor will be used for office and retail.

      A 2015 study noted that research has shown that many Chinese elders who do not live with their children want it that way.

      According to the paper titled ‘Chinatown Senior Housing Feasibility Study: cultural anchor for Chinatown’s future’, “not wanting to recreate the so-called traditional family life is a choice for more residential autonomy”.

      For Chinese seniors who want to live on their own, the proximity of places they know contributes to their independence.

      “Ethnic business districts link many ethnic seniors to local resources,” the study noted. “The availability of subsidized housing adjacent to a concentration of ethnic business and local amenities is associated with increased residential autonomy.”

      Lee’s Benevolent Association in Canada started in Vancouver in 1954.

      Patrick R. Stewart is the architect for the housing project at 835-837 East Hastings Street.