Fair Haven has a long history of meeting the needs of seniors and individuals with limited resources and incomes.
In the 1940s, Reverend Hugh Dobson, the Associate Secretary of the Board of Evangelism and Social Service of the United Church in British Columbia, had a concern about the elderly citizens in the community and the conditions under which they lived. Dr. Dobson constantly pointed out the Church’s responsibility in helping relieve this situation.
The Canadian Memorial United Church Women’s Association also saw a similar need and asked for a ‘Home for Elderly Ladies’, and the Lay Association asked for ‘Retired Church Workers’ to be considered for housing. With the support and participation of many, The Fair Haven United Church Homes proceeded and the work began.
In Burnaby, the United Church already had been given property on Rumble Street. The donor’s original family home became “The Girls’ Home” on Sussex Street.
Negotiations began for part of this 14-acre property and the development of rental cottages got underway with a sod-turning ceremony on May 14, 1949. On May 20, 1950, the dedication and official opening of eight duplex cottages took place and 16 married couples moved in. Fair Haven was a reality.
In May 1951, a rental apartment building on Rumble Street opened for single men and women.
As the need for long-term care became a reality, Fair Haven was approached by the Ministry of Health and built a 58-bed personal care facility in 1978. This was replaced in December 1994 with a new 100-bed multi-level care facility.
Fair Haven received a grant from Women’s Equality to finish a day care for 12 infants and 25 preschoolers. The child day care opened in January 1997 and is run by the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion.
The community outreach/chapel area was completed in April 1998, and the United Church of Canada British Columbia Conference offices are also located in the building. On March 01, 1999, Fair Haven opened the 55 one-bedroom barrier-free apartments in partnership with B.C. Housing.
As the need for low-cost housing increased, The Fair Haven United Church Homes Society began developing their Vancouver site.
Building A, an independent-living rental apartment, was built in 1963 and had 39 bachelor suites and 1 one-bedroom suite. Building B, also independent, low-cost rentals for seniors, was completed in 1966 and contained 43 bachelor suites and 7 one-bedroom suites.
A 69-bed licensed care facility was completed in the early 1960s and entered the Long-Term Care program in 1978.
In 1998, funding was secured from the Ministry of Health to replace the 69 beds of intermediate care and the 40-unit apartment building with a 100-bed Multilevel Care facility. Included in the design was a 12-bed Respite Care Centre and Adult Day Centre which is operated by Health and Home Care Society of BC. The new facility opened in June 2002.
In 2018 Fair Haven removed United Church from the legal name at the request of the United Church of Canada. We continue to honour the original vision and values of the organization that was founded through the United Church and today we are proud to provide homes to more than 540 seniors in Vancouver and Burnaby.