The McLaren Story

The McLaren Story

Many people with HIV and AIDS find it impossible to continue working as their illness progresses. Often, this leads to inadequate housing at a time when a clean, quiet and private home environment is more critical than ever to sustaining physical and emotional health. Furthermore, when uncertainties about housing exist, essential nutritional needs often remain unmet.

mclaren_matte2The McLaren Housing Society of British Columbia is a non-profit organization that provides safe, affordable housing to men, women and families who live with HIV/AIDS.

Founded in 1987, the Society developed out of the original Housing Committee of AIDS Vancouver and is named after Ted McLaren, who was one of Vancouver’s leading advocates for affordable housing for persons with AIDS. McLaren Housing’s first project was a five-bedroom house offering a communal living situation in a supportive environment. This home was known as McLaren House, and was the first project of its kind in Canada. McLaren House was closed in September 1993 and those housing units were replaced by portable rental subsidies in order to better meet the needs of the clients.

Helmcken House

helmcken_matte2The Society’s second major housing project was Helmcken House, a renovated heritage building located in downtown Vancouver South. Opened in July 1991 and offering a total of 32 one bedroom and bachelor apartment units, Helmcken House is located within easy access to St. Paul’s Hospital,  and the comprehensive medical support services of The  John Ruedy Immunodeficiency Clinic (IDC).


Howe Street

howe_matteIn August 2013, McLaren opened its newest residential building 1249 Howe Street situated within 5 minutes walk of Helmcken House, St Pauls Hospital and the Dr. Peter Centre. This 12 storey building provides a total of 110 self-contained bachelor, 1 and 2 bedroom units with 24/7 staffing providing support services to the residents and families living there.

McLaren Expands Its Housing Stock

In the last 20 years more than 80 portable subsidies have been created through McLaren Housing’s creative fund raising initiatives, which allow clients to remain in rental apartments and in a community of their choice.

In addition McLaren has 20 units allocated at Seymour Place, under the administration of Affordable Housing Society and 10 units at Mole Hill Community Housing both of which are available to applicants on the McLaren Housing Waitlist.

The primary goal of McLaren continues to be the expansion of its available housing stock through the submission of proposals to various sources and through private fund-raising initiatives. The Society is deeply committed to meeting the ever-growing housing and support needs of the HIV/AIDS community.


1987 Society incorporated 0
1991 Helmcken House Opens: 32 subsidized units 32
1994 5 more Gov’t subsidies allocated to McLaren 37
1996 to 1998 17 new Portable Subsidies created, financed by McLaren fundraising efforts 54
2000 Public Housing: Seymour Place opens with 20 new Gov’t-subsidized units allocated to McLaren 74
2001 10 more portable Gov’t subsidies available 84
2002 10 subsidized units in Mole Hill redevelopment project 94
2002 to 2008 10 additional portable subsidies made possible through fundraising 104
2008 ESP Program commences with 25 portable 129
2008 Funding for Howe Street approved
2010 MAC AIDS Fund provides 5 supportable subsidies for the LEAP Program 134
2011 STOP AIDS (VCH) provides 5 portable subsidies(SILS) for families living in Vancouver 139
2012 SSP (sponsored subsidy program) is created 140
2013 Howe Street development completed, on 110 units of subsidized social housing 250+