Our region faces significant real-estate challenges… from lack of affordable housing options for individuals and families along the housing and income continuum, to inadequate and insufficient spaces for non-profits delivering needed community services and programs, to the loss of community-owned land and buildings due to development or financial pressures. At the same time, many mission-driven organizations hold land, financial resources or other assets that can be leveraged to create more and better affordable housing and to meet a range of community space needs.

We are seeing a range of innovative, collaborative and impactful social purpose real estate projects and models that are doing just that. From mixed-use projects blending affordable housing with community program and/or commercial spaces, to community hubs, co-location or co-working spaces, to farmland and community land trusts – these kinds of initiatives can increase community ownership, maximize community benefits and generate future revenue streams for organizations.

Vancity wants to enable and accelerate this work by supporting community to retain, acquire, develop and re-develop community real estate assets that have potential to maximize community benefit and financial resilience, including creation of affordable housing.

Our approach aims to build the capacity and confidence of organizations to conceive, plan and undertake impactful and enterprising social purpose real estate projects and to connect them with the resources they need - expertise, partners, grant funding and creative financing - as they move along the development path.

How we can help…

Together with Vancity, we work to provide a comprehensive suite of financial and technical supports that can help you move your social purpose real estate initiative forward from concept to reality.

Whether you are just starting to explore your real estate strategy and options, or getting ready to move forward with development and construction we can help by providing or connecting you to…

  • Real estate expertise and advisory services from our team and other partners
  • Grants to support costs of concept development, feasibility assessment or business planning
  • Patient pre-development loans, impact investment and creative financing options
  • Access to construction and mortgage financing from Vancity Credit
  • Access to learning opportunities, tools and resources and ideas

Real estate development is a multi-step process that can be complicated, lengthy and risky and rewarding. It can take years to bring a project from the initial planning through construction to final completion and we aim to be your long-term partners and supported along the way.

Here are some ways we can help at every stage of your process…

  • Real Estate Vision, Strategy and Concept Development
    Your real estate decisions and initiatives should be grounded in your organizational vision, strategic priorities and values. Through direct advisory services, workshops and/or grant funding we can help your explore you organizational priorities and space needs, assess your real estate assets and opportunities, and develop your real estate strategy, action plan, and/or project concepts.
  • Feasibility and Business Planning
    When you have a specific social purpose real estate opportunity or project concept that you are ready to explore further we can support you with non-repayable and/or re-payable grants to help you engage the expertise you require to carry out feasibility and business planning for your real estate project.
  • Pre-development / Pre-construction
    As your project moves forward with acquisition, due diligence, completion of site and building plans, detailed financials, and/or zoning approval and permitting we can bring the high risk capital you require at this stage though access to a Vancity Pre-Development Loan. We can also work with you to secure additional investors and partners and arrange construction financing, as well as providing you with feedback and expert advice on your plans and development options.
  • Construction and Occupancy
    We can connect you with construction and/or mortgage financing options from Vancity, and in some may be able to help address capital gaps through impact investments or equity-like financing options directly from Vancity Community Foundation.

What we look for…

We seek project and initiatives where we see:

  • Alignment with Vancity priority sectors and areas of impact - including local food and agriculture, energy and environment; economic and social inclusion of vulnerable populations, indigenous communities and co-operative economy.
  • Innovative Models and Collaborations – we want to support and learn from projects that are applying or testing new approaches to social purpose real estate development including enterprising mixed-purpose and/or mixed revenue models, interesting development and/investment partnerships or collaborations, or innovative land-use or building practices, just to name a few.
  • Potential for impact – how compelling and/or significant are the potential impacts of the projects in delivering more affordable housing and/or maintaining or increasing new community-owned assets that will address priority community needs.
  • Potential viability – does the initiative (even at an early stage), demonstrate some potential for financial and technical viability, including the capacity of the organization to raise the required capital and resources to move the project forward.
  • Organizational commitment and readiness – does the organization demonstrate entrepreneurial capacity and spirit, readiness, commitment and capacity to use investment from Vancity to move forward with a social purpose development or redevelopment project.

As a Charitable Foundation, our primary focus is working with non-profit and charitable organizations whether working independently or in partnership with for-profit or non-profit real estate developers or other stakeholders. Priority is given to initiatives that are member organizations and/or located in the Vancity service regions: Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay.

Our ProcesS

If you have a real estate challenge, opportunity or project that you think sounds like a fit, please get in touch with us. The first step is to call or email with an outline of your project. Our team will connect with you to arrange a meeting and explore opportunities to work together. 

To start a conversation with us about your project, contact:
Irene Gannitsos