Today we are sharing that First United Church Social Housing Society (FUCSHS) has transferred ownership to Sch’eyk Housing Society, operated by Lu’ma Native Housing Society. The decision for Lu’ma to operate the Housing Society came after careful consideration and negotiation between FUCSHS Board and staff leadership of FUCSHS, and leadership from Lu’ma Native Housing Society. FUCSHS will no longer exist, and the shift of ownership to Sch’eyk Housing Society operated by Lu’ma will provide increased access to resources, capacity, and building upgrades that will improve the overall experience for residents.

For over 40 years, FUCSHS has operated three social housing buildings, comprised of 189 units, in the Downtown Eastside and Mount Pleasant, and has been the sister society to First United Church Community Ministry Society (FIRST UNITED).

“The wellbeing of our residents is of the utmost importance to all of us at First United Church Social Housing Society. By selecting an established, well-trusted organization like Lu’ma Native Housing Society to absorb operations, we feel secure and comforted that those who call Jennie Pentland Place, Bill Hennessy Place, and Ledingham Place home will be well looked-after and that their quality of life at home will only improve.”

– Elizabeth Kerklaan, Past President, First United Church Social Housing Society Board of Directors

Current residents in each of the buildings will remain secure in their homes and their tenancies will not be altered as a result of the transfer. Sch’eyk, operated by Lu’ma, has a mandate is to create necessary health and wellness conditions through affordable housing for urban Indigenous individuals and families. As units become available through natural attrition, they can fill vacancies in accordance with their housing priorities which include 50% of each applicant family being of Aboriginal ancestry. The staff have also maintained their employment and transitioned to Sch’eyk, operated by Lu’ma.

“We’re so pleased to be able to partner with Lu’ma Native Housing Society on this important shift in organizational leadership. We know they have the expertise, resources, and vision to successfully manage these properties and improve conditions for residents. At the heart of this decision was choosing how to best serve residents, and we know that this is the best choice for that.”

– Amanda Burrows, Interim Executive Director, FIRST UNITED

Established in September 1981 by the board members of the Ministry Society, the Housing Society was created as an independent, separate society to meet the increased affordable housing needs of the city, especially in the wake of Expo 86. First United Housing Society operates 156 low-end of market units and 33 rent-geared-to-income subsidized units of housing. The Housing Society and Ministry Society had a management agreement in place, which ended on December 31, 2022. The Housing Society is now going through required regulatory processes with The United Church of Canada and other governing bodies to fully transfer into Lu’ma. First United Church Community Ministry Society remains committed in our ongoing work to enable housing in the Downtown Eastside. Our new building offering 103 units of Indigenous social housing, which will also be operated by Lu’ma, is scheduled for completion in 2025.

We would like to extend our gratitude to the former Board Chair Elizabeth Kerklaan and Director of Housing Mayleen Ahoy, along with the former Board and staff of FUCSHS for their commitment to serving the community and this transition.

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