St. James Grows Into The Bloom Group

VANCOUVER, BC (June 3, 2013) – St. James Community Services Society, a social service organization founded 52 years ago in the Downtown Eastside, today unveiled a new name. As of June 1, the organization will be known as The Bloom Group.

Today the organization serves nearly 1,500 people throughout Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Services include permanent housing for people living with mental health challenges and addictions, emergency shelter and transitional housing for women and children, hospice care, and adult guardianship financial services.

“Our new name, evoking life, growth and transformation, honours our roots and legacy of pioneering many of our community’s most progressive social services, and reaffirms our promise to provide care for individuals, without conditions” said Jonathan Oldman, Executive Director of The Bloom Group.

“The Bloom Group name stands for inclusion, whether it’s ensuring the dignity of our most vulnerable citizens or addressing broad social needs in collaboration with our ever-growing circle of community partners,” Oldman said.

The Bloom Group is currently working to begin construction on three new housing projects in Vancouver:

  • Doubling the number of beds available at Powell Place low-barrier emergency shelter for women;
  • Transforming the former Downtown Eastside Remand Centre into 95 new units of affordable housing, including 37 units for participants of BladeRunnners, a construction-training program for marginalized Aboriginal youth; and
  • Creating 89 supportive housing units as part of the 1050 Expo Boulevard Project in Yaletown in partnership with 127 Society for Housing.

About The Bloom Group
The Bloom Group Community Services Society (The Bloom Group) is a multi-service non-profit organization based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with the mission to “make lives better for individuals who are most vulnerable.” The Bloom Group provides ‘low barrier’ services with the aim to support individuals in need, without conditions. The organization was founded as St. James Community Services Society in 1961 by May Gutteridge, a parishioner of St. James Anglican Church at 303 East Cordova.

The Bloom Group provides the following services:

HOUSING – providing 178 residents on fixed or low-incomes with a place to call home

  • Mental health housing – Victory House, Santiago Lodge and Cecelia House
  • Supportive housing – Cordova House and 1050 Expo Boulevard (currently in civic planning stage)
  • Affordable housing – Somerville Place and 250 Powell (scheduled to begin construction this fall)

WOMEN & CHILDREN SERVICES – providing women and children experiencing homelessness, or in crisis, with a safe and supportive place to stay as they rebuild their lives. We operate two of the few women-only emergency shelters in Vancouver.

  • Powell Place – serving 300 women in the Downtown Eastside
  • Springhouse (formerly St. Elizabeth’s Home) – helping to keep families together as the only emergency shelter and 2nd stage housing in Vancouver that accepts male children over the age of 12

HOSPICE CARE – providing individuals from all walks of life with compassionate, family-like end-of-life care so they are able to live their last days in dignity and comfort.

  • May’s Place – the only hospice in the Downtown Eastside, May’s specializes in caring for individuals with mental health challenges and addictions; it is the first free-standing hospice in Western Canada, built in response to the AIDS crisis
  • Cottage Hospice – Located in Burrard View Park in a heritage building restored by The Bloom Group

ADULT GUARDIANSHIP – the only community-based service in BC managing the income of low-income individuals, including seniors and others no longer able to care for their own financial needs

  • Servicing 700 individuals annually throughout the Lower Mainland
  • Over 25% new clients in 2012

Fen Hsiao, Marketing and Communications Manager
Twitter: @bloomgrp