"Dodson staff have cared for me through some very difficult times." - Tenant

History

Built as a hotel before World War l, the Dodson originally served travelers in British Columbia. In the 1930s, when Vancouver’s business core began moving uptown to Georgia Street, hotels and rooming houses like the Dodson became home to permanent low-income residents.

As heroin and cocaine use became prevalent in the community, some of the once-stately buildings became centers for organized crime and unsupported housing. As a result, the Dodson building deteriorated and long-term tenants became vulnerable to violence, neglect and untreated illnesses.

In 2004, in response to the growing humanitarian need in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Hart and Anita Molthagen, together with David and Lise Ash, purchased the Dodson Rooms.

The building underwent major repairs from 2004 to 2006, while supportive housing management was introduced by Community Builders Group. Tenants did not lose their housing during the upgrade initiative.

In 2006, Hart and Anita released their share of the Dodson to David and Lise. The building was donated to the Dodson Foundation in 2009. In 2013, the Dodson Foundation transferred ownership to the Community Builders Foundation, the current owner and operator of the Dodson.

What We Do

The Community Builders Foundation coordinates activities for a 71-room supportive housing centre, located in the heart of Vancouver, Canada.

The 100-year-old facility is a five-storey, stately building and features large rooms, a community kitchen, a tenant support program and the Dodson Conference Centre on the ground floor.

Dodson tenants, staff and volunteers have adopted a Whole Life Housing approach to wellness which features: affordable rent; assistance with addictions and medical issues; a breakfast and community kitchen program; housekeeping services; employment services; free laundry; and, an advanced pest control and room maintenance program.

In 2005, a longitudinal study on the benefits of best practices in privately-owned rooming houses was undertaken at the Dodson, with the cooperation of chronically homeless persons. The study revealed that Dodson tenants experienced a 40-60% reduction in risk-factors leading to homelessness, after a minimum six-week stay. The research initiative was sponsored by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).

From 2008 to present, HRSDC has also funded a tenant support program at the Dodson and three other Vancouver rooming houses, through the Community Builders Group.

About Us

The Community Builders Foundation is a community-based organization founded in 2013.

Core participants include community-minded residents of Vancouver’s inner city, benevolent investors, innovative social service providers, altruistic volunteers and dedicated staff.

The Community Builders philosophy is built on acceptance, respect for all persons, bottom-up development and natural pathways to wellness.

A five member board of directors oversees the executive operations of the Foundation, which is incorporated under the Society Act of British Columbia and registered by the Canada Revenue Agency.