26 Sep The New Hope Story: Then and Now
The New Hope Story: Then and Now
As we prepare for our upcoming fundraising gala based on the theme Then and Now, we’ve taken time to reflect on the history of New Hope. It has been inspiring and energizing to look back at our past, evaluate where we are today, and dream about what’s to come in the future. Read the New Hope story to learn about our start in Vancouver to our new home in Surrey and everything in between.
Early Beginnings in Vancouver
As more immigrants and refugees began coming to Vancouver in the mid 90’s, Jack Taylor, the pastor of Faith Fellowship Baptist, recognized the pressing needs for these newcomers, especially housing and community. In 2000, the dream of New Hope began to take shape with the goal of supporting refugees in Vancouver and establishing a multicultural church congregation.
In May 2004, New Hope received charity status and was officially launched as a non-profit society. New Hope leased their first home in Vancouver and welcomed their first residents. Refugee men could stay for a few days to a few months until they got on their feet. A separate home for women was opened in early 2005. Each house had a house manager who lived in residence to assist residents with the transition.
In 2006, Jack secured a grant from the Federal Government that allowed New Hope to buy the South Vancouver home they were leasing and renovate it into a 7-bedroom facility.
A Time of Transition
By 2010, New Hope had a full staff, a strong board, and had served over 300 residents from more than 45 countries. There was even a catering service to give residents Canadian work experience and an opportunity to use their culinary skills. New Hope gained momentum and became transformative in the community.
Around this time, however, things began to change. Attitudes towards newcomers became less positive, people gave funding less readily, and new legislation in 2012 lowered the incoming refugee population. In 2013, for the first time New Hope began to lose money due to increasing repairs for the homes and ineffective fundraising.
Jack re-engaged with the board, attended conferences, and urged a renewed focus in Surrey. Over 50% of refugees were moving to Surrey, but there was no housing dedicated to refugees there. Together, the leaders of New Hope decided that it was time to move to Surrey. New Hope sold the Vancouver men’s home and shut down the women’s home. They began the search for a new Executive Director, a re-energized board, and a fresh vision. After a significant search, Jamey McDonald was approached to take on the role of restarting New Hope in Surrey.
A New Vision
Jamey was hired full-time to explore restarting the organization and became the visionary for New Hope, Phase 2. Jamey envisioned working with families in private dwellings rather than individuals in a dormitory approach. He began searching for churches and donors to support them.
During this search, the Syrian Refugee Crisis came up in the headlines, and people were suddenly re-engaged with the refugee issue and ready to help. It was an opportune time to re-start. Baptist Housing committed one million dollars to New Hope, interest-free for ten years. If New Hope could stay open for a decade, this money would be theirs. In 2015, the search for a building began.
New Hope Surrey: A New Beginning
New Hope took over the Hilton building in January 2016. Jamey began hiring an all-star staff to get the building up and running including a Daytime Manager, Volunteer Coordinator and Arabic translators. On March 1, 2016, New Hope was ready to welcome residents, and four families came in to start. The suites continued to be filled, and just three months later the apartment was completely full. Since June 2016, New Hope has been at full capacity.
New Hope Today
Currently, there are 10 refugee families and 3 resident support families living at New Hope. Every second Thursday of the month, a church or volunteer group comes to the building to host a community dinner where our residents, staff and volunteers share a meal and build community together. Our summer programs bring the children of the building together to play games, do sports, make arts and crafts, and go on field trips. Volunteers support our residents by teaching ESL classes, hosting movie nights, doing building maintenance, offering gardening help, and so much more.
To raise funds for New Hope, we host an annual gala in the fall and participate in the Ride for Refuge. We continue to build partnerships with local organizations that are best suited to support our refugees such as ISSofBC, Baptist Housing Ministries and Journey Home Community.
As of September 2018, we have provided housing and support services for more than 500 refugees from over 60 different countries. We feel encouraged to continue on this journey and hope you feel inspired to come alongside us.
This blog post is based on an essay written by Kaleigh Poussett, New Hope’s 2018 summer intern. She researched New Hope’s history through conversations with Jack Taylor, New Hope’s founder, and Jamey McDonald, New Hope’s former Executive Director.