Tenants of a transitional-housing program in Abbotsford who were given only a few days’ notice that they had to vacate their homes can now stay put.
Josh Bach, a director of the Many Ways Home Society, indicated on Friday afternoon (Aug. 20) that another agency, Embers, is taking over the six-townhouse property on Westbury Avenue – a total of 24 beds.
Bach said details are also being worked out over another 19 beds – at a basement suite and other townhouses – but none of those tenants will have to move either.
One of the tenants, Jared Davidson, who notified the Abbotsford News on Tuesday (Aug. 17) about the issue, said the residents received confirmation of the good news on Friday morning.
“We were just overjoyed … (They) told us, ‘We’re not leaving anybody behind. Everybody’s been picked up,’ ” Davidson said.
The tenants received a “notice to vacate” that was dated Aug. 12, but they say they did not receive it until Aug. 17. It indicated they had to move out by Aug. 25 because Many Ways Home was ceasing operations.
The agency, a non-profit society started in 2019 out of the city’s Homelessness Task Force, rents properties from landlords for people who would otherwise have difficulty finding housing on their own.
Some of the tenants have substance-abuse issues and others have criminal backgrounds or mental-health challenges.
But the agency said the combined rent it receives from tenants isn’t enough to cover their expenses, leaving “very little” to pay the outreach worker they need.
The board also had to let their executive director go late last year because they couldn’t afford to keep him.
Another factor was the resignation – for personal reasons – of the two directors on the board who were versed in housing, homelessness and substance-abuse issues, leaving four directors who did not have that knowledge.
And yet another complication was they were recently advised that their directors’ and officers’ insurance would not be renewed, expiring Aug. 27, and that they can’t continue without that coverage.
Bach said the agency spent six months trying to find another agency to take over, to no avail – until now.
“Embers expressed interest, spoke with the landlord and figured out how to pay for what they will do,” he said.
The Abbotsford News has reached out to Embers for more details about their involvement, but hadn’t heard back as of Friday afternoon (Aug. 20).
Their website states that they are “a registered community economic development charity located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.”