on Friday, May 17, 2013
The Victoria Day long weekend is upon us! Let’s be honest: Monday-Friday, 9-5’ers across the country have been looking forward to this weekend all month. If you weren’t able to invite yourself to a friend’s cabin or cottage this weekend fear not; Hollyburn Properties has prepared the “Long Weekend Staycation Survival Guide” for staying in town.
While the rains have returned, that has never stopped us ruthless Vancouverites from exploring our city and coastline. Here are some ideas of what to do:
- Every May long weekend, 100,000 ladybugs are released into the Priddis Valley Gardens as part of an annual festival in the insect’s honour. The festival features live music, food, massage, yoga and an activity tent for kids.
- Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village opens this weekend. Discover “how the West was once” at Canada’s largest living history museum.
- Officially known as the Canadian Tulip Festival, this weekend wraps up the 61st edition. Millions of tulips are in bloom, creating a beautiful mosaic of colour in Ottawa-Gatineau.
- This Saturday join headliner Wafik Nasralla at The Barley Mow Laugh Out Loud Comedy Show (Bank Street); with Wafik will be local comics Matt Watson, Wendi Reed, and Brad Doiron!
- The Toronto International Circus Festival is in town; a free, three-day showcase of acrobats, daredevils, buskers and more, aimed at children under 12.
- MEC hosts their annual celebration for bike aficionados: Bikefest. It’s a community celebration of all things bike related with skills clinics, demos, and workshops.
As you can see there are many events going on to keep you happy, entertained and full this long weekend. Sleep in, relax and get out in your community to enjoy the beginning of Canada’s summer season!
on Saturday, May 11, 2013
Apartment living presents us all with unique benefits as well as challenges. One of these concerns is the ability to get to know your neighbours. For whatever reason, apartment dwellers are notorious for slipping silently into their units without taking the time to introduce themselves and socialize with their rental community. Hence one of the reasons Hollyburn Properties hosts its annual summer BBQ’s…
But on another note, research has shown that knowing your neighbours by name can create a safer home environment. Our friends south of the border at the National Apartment Association head quarters looked into whether the security of our rental communities has fallen by the wayside as a result of our reserved nature.
Knowing one’s neighbour can have a significant effect on creating a sense of security in one’s community:
- 72% of homeowners report that, because they know their neighbours, they are confident that their neighbours will act if suspicious activity occurs around their home
- 47% of Americans who know their neighbours say, because of this, they have no immediate plans to move
- 35% of Americans who know their neighbours have shared information with them about crime and safety in the neighbourhood
- 50% of Americans who know their neighbours say, because of this, they have received help with a lost pet or have helped with a neighbours lost pet or rescued animal
The data doesn’t lie. Invite your neighbour over for coffee or a beer. It could mean the difference between feeling safe about leaving your apartment for the weekend, or fearing the worst. Take control of your environment and leave nothing up to chance by getting to know one another and looking out for each other!
on Saturday, May 04, 2013
Many people wonder how it is that young people find themselves homeless and at the door step of Covenant House, an organization that provides short and long term housing for youth aged 16 -24. One such young person, Darla, came to Covenant House’s transitional living program, Rights of Passage (ROP) after her mother announced that she was moving to a one bedroom apartment, telling Darla that she better start looking for another place to live or “she would be homeless”.
Darla's family is from a culture where boys are revered and girls are often treated with disdain. While growing up, Darla experienced a lot of emotional abuse from her mother and was made to feel very small for not being a boy. Darla often felt neglected by her mother who poured all of her attention onto her brother. Worse still, Darla's brother was physically abusive towards her, so much so, that the police were called to the home on several occasions.
The last incident of abuse led the police to arrest her brother, charging him with assault. Darla was set to testify in court, but her mother intercepted the subpoena in the mail and she missed the court date. When Darla confronted her mother about this, her mother said that she would rather Darla face the consequences from the courts for not attending, than see her son go to jail. Darla gave up and decided to drop the charges as she could no longer handle the harassment from her mother.
Darla began to access Covenant House’s Drop-In program as she needed help finding a place to live. Darla was “couch surfing”, living with many different friends wherever she could. Her life at this time was very stressful and she was understandably anxious about her lack of housing, especially since she was working full-time and taking part-time studies at a community college. While visiting the Drop-In, one of our housing workers, Linda, told Darla about ROP as she was worried that Darla was in danger of becoming completely homeless (couch surfing can only last so long).
Darla applied to and was accepted into ROP. Soon, she began seeing one of the psychiatrists that visit Covenant House each week, and her mental health began to stabilize. Darla decided to pursue a career in child care and secured a job working with children to further this goal. She continued studying at college part-time, paying for her own way, never applying for a student loan.
Darla did extremely well in ROP and when the opportunity for a rental apartment with Hollyburn Properties came up, Darla seemed a natural choice (for the past several years, Hollyburn has generously provided a young person from Covenant House with an apartment at a greatly reduced rent that is later returned to the young person when they move out). Darla had matured while in ROP and staff felt she deserved this apartment; she even worked to re-establish a somewhat healthy relationship with her mother.
Darla was interviewed and selected to receive the Hollyburn rental apartment. When Linda showed her the apartment, she cried that night back at ROP saying that she couldn’t believe how wonderful the place was and that she felt like she finally had a home. To add to her excitement, she was informed that she was accepted for a bursary that would help pay for her schooling so she could stop worrying about how to save money and take part-time courses.
Hollyburn Properties is thrilled that the Covenant House program has been so positively received. Check back for more inspiring success stories to come.
on Saturday, April 27, 2013
Hollyburn Properties is very proud of its long-standing community partnership with Covenant House Vancouver. Hollyburn participates in monthly clothing donation pick-ups from its rental apartment buildings and supports the annual Christmas Backpack Program. The most unique aspect of the partnership, however, has got to be the three fully furnished suites that Hollyburn provides each year for graduates of Covenant House’s crisis shelter and “Rights of Passage” youth program.
In addition to guidance, structure and support, youth in these programs receive training on basic skills such as budgeting, cooking, cleaning and goal setting. Hollyburn participates by providing fully furnished apartments at a greatly subsidized rent. Upon successful completion of the Hollyburn youth rental program the candidate is reimbursed all of the rent money and also acquires the furniture to keep!
Here is Joanne’s story:
Joanne grew up in eastern Canada in what could only be described as an extremely “dysfunctional” family. There was sexual abuse, neglect and no love. When Joanne was in highschool her parents moved the family moved back to Europe. Not long after, Joanne was abandoned by her family: she came home from school one day and they were gone. Only knowing one other person in her town, a family “friend”, Joanne contacted her for some help. This family friend offered Joanne a job with her company in Vancouver, working as a translator as Joanne spoke several languages.
On blind faith, Joanne moved to Vancouver and moved in with the family friend. This arrangement lasted for two weeks wherein Joanne was abandoned yet again. With no family, no friends and nowhere to live, Joanne found her way to the YWCA where she was referred to Covenant House. Unlike many of our youth who struggle with mental health and/or addictions issues, Joanne presented as high-functioning, intelligent and very motivated to succeed in life (her deep-rooted anxiety and understandable fear of abandonment would surface later once she felt safe).
The structure of the shelter program suited Joanne well. She quickly found two jobs and availed herself of training programs in her field of interest. After five months in the shelter where she managed to save $2,000, Joanne was eager to find a place of her own. The shelter staff referred her to our Housing Workers, Marc and Linda, who thought Joanne would be a perfect candidate for an amazing program offered by Hollyburn Properties. For many years, Hollyburn has provided an apartment to a young person for a year, collecting rent but returning it when the young person moves out.
Joanne moved into her apartment, kept two jobs and then decided that she really wanted to go to college. Our Pastoral Counsellor, Sister Nancy, helped her get a scholarship to a local college where she attends part-time while keeping a full-time job. When Joanne moved into her new place, it became apparent to Mark and Linda that she was in desperate need of life-skills training so they taught her to cook, clean, budget and comparison shop. Once she had settled into her place, Joanne asked to receive some counselling to address the trauma she experienced growing up and being abandoned by her family.
Joanne meets with one of a mental health clinician weekly and is learning to trust her instincts, set healthy boundaries with people and is healing from the trauma her upbringing and abandonments. She has been so grateful for her beautiful apartment, the opportunity to pursue her education and to be accompanied on her journey towards independence.
“Hollyburn has provided me with the opportunity to spread my wings and better myself by being supportive of my goals. I am very grateful for this support and would like to give thanks to all at Hollyburn” – Joanne.
We are pleased to report that Joanne has now “graduated” from the Hollyburn/Covenant House program and is renting her apartment at full market value, an outcome that Hollyburn intended when it first established this partnership with Covenant House. Congratulations Joanne!
on Saturday, April 13, 2013
Moving is rather stressful no matter how you cut it. Sorting through your life’s belongings, packing everything and transporting it, only to unpack it all again in a matter of weeks makes the most organized out of us an exhausted, frustrated wreck. There are ways of easing the process, however, and even of turning the experience into something enjoyable. With the help of Maple Leaf Self Storage and their Professional Organizers of Canada expert, Soraiya Kara, we were able to come up with a few simple tips on keeping your cool while moving. Together Maple Leaf Self Storage, BC and Alberta's storage solution, Soraiya, the owner of POSabilities Personal Organizing and Hollyburn Properties, Canada's apartment rental champions created expert advice on moving into rental apartments and tips on how to master it like a pro.
1. Start early and have a plan
When anticipating a move in the future, start early and tackle items one step at a time. Make an inventory of each room and plan various tasks accordingly. For example, the bathroom can be broken down into toiletries and personal items, towels and mats and decorations. Each of these gets a box and a list. Get the entire family involved by assigning tasks to each person.
2. Relax, get comfortable and call a friend
Put your favourite tunes on, pour yourself a glass of wine and call up your bff. Use moving as a positive opportunity to spend some quality time with yourself and a friend. Remind them you’ll return the favour when the time comes and follow through. Don’t overcomplicate things. Start with three boxes: Keep, Recycle and Donate. This is an excellent start.
3. Be ruthless
There’s a difference between keeping something that has sentimental value or out of a sense of obligation. That set of decorative plates your great aunt gave you ten years ago is honestly better off at the Thrift store where someone who truly appreciates it can display it on their walls. Create a memory box for those items you can’t bear to part with to be kept in storage. Give yourself permission to get rid of things. If you haven’t worn it in a year then it needs to go.
4. See the light at the end of the tunnel
If you have a large project ahead of you don’t forget to set smaller, realistic goals with a reward at the end of each. This could be going for a massage or manicure or perhaps playing a round of golf. Turn moving into a positive experience. Think about it as an opportunity to clear out all of your unnecessary belongings and a move forward without the baggage.
At the end of the day, remember to stay flexible. Moving always involves unforeseen events and expenses. Take a deep breath, stay calm and stick to the plan.
on Saturday, April 06, 2013
Hollyburn Properties would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to our Vancouver rental apartment residents of their generous donations to the first annual province wide Spring Hope Food Drive! Alltogether, 1800 sealed food items and $130 in cash were collected for the Food Bank.
That's over 2000 pounds of non-perishable food items which will then be delivered directly to those in need. We are truly proud of our contribution to this year’s event, and of the BCAOMA’s intention to unite landlords and tenants to help fight hunger as an industry.
Toronto’s Spring Hope event is just around the corner on Apr. 23, and in order to inspire a successful food drive, we would like to share some pictures of our tally. Let’s garner some healthy competition and try and exceed donations at the Toronto event. Go team!
on Friday, March 22, 2013
on Thursday, March 21, 2013
Do you have an interesting story told through an epic photo? This summer, the New York Times will present a special series of four short documentaries on life in high-rise apartment buildings, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. The project explores the history and future of high-rise buildings and their relationship to issues of equity, segregation and social responsibility in cities around the world.
Hollyburn Properties wanted to extend the NYT's invitation to the public to contribute a photograph for inclusion in the series. Hollyburn residents have amazing and unique stories and this is an opportunity to share those with the world. Images contributed should illustrate the experience of living in or around high-rise buildings along with a short story behind it.
Guidelines are 10 photos max/person at minimum 900 pixels wide. Submit them to email@example.com by March 26, 2013 for a chance to be considered for the video.
on Saturday, March 16, 2013
Why are we holding a food drive at this time of year? People tend to be very generous with charitable donations during the Christmas holiday season, yet by early spring of each year, food bank shelves are often bare. This time of year is often when food banks have the greatest need. Hollyburn Properties is therefore participating in the Spring Hope food drive to show the support of our industry, re-affirm our community commitment and most importantly: to fill those shelves.
We are partnering with the BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association (BCAOMA) and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society in the first ever province-wide food drive. The Spring HOPE (Housing Owners and People Everywhere) Food Drive is a one-day, two and a half hour event which involves an army of volunteers conducting food drives in apartment buildings throughout the province. Check out the success of last year's event in Toronto.
We are asking for your help to participate in what will hopefully be a very successful annual event. Any canned or sealed food that is donated will be collected in marked bins in the lobby and picked up on Thursday, March 21, 2013 to be distributed in communities across the province. Together we can make a difference!
on Thursday, March 07, 2013