Finding affordable, safe, and stable housing for hundreds of Jewish individuals and families in Metro Vancouver got a big boost this month with the launch of the first-ever Jewish Housing Registry.
This historic new initiative, which will be jointly managed by our partners, Jewish Family Services (JFS) and Tikva Housing Society (Tikva), will integrate information from multiple housing providers under one digital roof, resulting in increased operational efficiencies both for those seeking and those supporting housing services, and timelier assistance for community members in need.
Also involved in this exciting collaboration are the Vancouver Jewish Building Society, Yaffa Housing Society, Haro Park Centre Society, and Maple Crest Apartments. Jewish Federation was proud to allocate initial financial support for the registry through the Federation Annual Campaign, and the Jewish Community Foundation provided a grant to fund its implementation.
A Longtime Goal
The idea for a Jewish Housing Registry began almost a decade ago when Jewish community leaders, including representatives from JFS, Tikva, and Jewish Federation, recognized that having numerous housing societies, each of which operated independently, made it very difficult for those seeking community housing to get complete information on current available vacancies. They began exploring ways to improve the intake process, both to simplify procedures and to ensure that Jewish applicants received the support they required to reside in affordable housing, where Jewish values and practices could be nurtured.
A Game Changer
Up until now, each housing provider involved in the registry has had their own application process, managed their own wait lists, and stored their client data independently. Community members applying for housing assistance had to register with multiple housing organizations, which involved completing similar, lengthy applications. The end result was often a very frustrating housing search for those in need, exacerbating an already stressful situation.
The new registry is a game changer. With this shared database, all of the housing providers will have real-time information about applicants’ housing criteria as well as a more accurate picture of the scope of the community’s housing needs. And for community members, it means they can go to a single source when applying for housing.
Other important benefits include:
- Reduced inefficiencies and duplication of intakes between agencies;
- Improved coordination of services;
- Increased time for one-on-one client support with housing staff; and
- Ability to report real-time statistics, which will enhance future community planning.
Building Housing Security
Housing insecurity has been a critical issue in the region for some time, where soaring rental rates and exorbitant property prices, coupled with other socio-cultural factors, have made it extremely challenging for many individuals and families to find stable shelter, be it for the short or long-term. This difficult situation has been further intensified by the pandemic, with many community members experiencing increased personal hardship.
Jewish Federation works closely with our partner agencies in the housing sector to generate solutions to these complex challenges and to combat homelessness. Through funds raised in the Annual Campaign, we support their life-changing programs and services, which not only help those in search of housing secure a safe, affordable place to call home, but also a residential community where they can find Jewish connection.