Anhart Community Housing Society has operated The Dodson, an SRO (single-room occupancy) at 25 E Hastings Street since 2004. We’ve owned it since 2013.
It was a gift from generous benefactors whose dedication to affordable housing in this troubled community remains an inspiration to us. It was where we developed our housing model, valuing tenant employment, bottom-up ideas, and social enterprise. We received generous support from our original investors, all manner of community-minded architects, building consultants and tradespeople, and tenant support workers. We were proud to say that the building operated on a private business model, that we supported many tenants, and that our rents were low (until recently $450).
The Dodson is more than a century old, and despite approximately $3 million invested since 2004 (windows, elevator, pipes, electrical upgrades, new boiler, the list goes on) it needs TLC. Crime in this neighbourhood has increased in recent years; vandalism and unwelcome guests have forced us to bump up security and staffing. Tenants have suffered the widespread effects of the opioid crisis and many show signs of declining health.
Changes are necessary. We are starting this new phase with a renovation, upgrading each room with new self-controlled electrical baseboard heating, new paint and kitchen amenities (cabinet, microwave and mini-fridge.) We are welcoming a new tenant in the commercial space, the formidable Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, and renovating the space to meet their needs. We are doing all we can to improve security and living conditions.
While we have discussed a sale of the building with public agencies, it isn’t imminent. Instead we have made improvements and welcomed new tenants to upgraded spaces at slightly higher rents.
We’re confident that these changes will ensure long-term and stable housing at the Dodson. We welcome new ideas, social impact investment, and visitors. To talk more about the Dodson, contact Keith.Gordon@anhart.ca.