Project Description

In 2020, CIRES engaged Hessey to provide a functional programming study to facilitate the temporary and/or permanent relocation of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House (DTES NH) due to a planned base building major renovation project.  

About the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House

The DTES NH is a community-based, volunteer-driven organization serving Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighbourhood since 2005. The DTES NH provides a broad range of low-barrier programming and educational, leadership, social, and recreational activities with the goal of cultivating a healthy and thriving DTES community. 

Project Goal: Provide the DTES NH with a clear understanding of current and potential programs to be accommodated, as well as the functional criteria to be met, as part of its temporary relocation and/or eventual move into a permanent leasehold location.  

Hessey recognized that the forced relocation provided opportunities for the DTES NH to evaluate its current operations and explore facility options that both better accommodate community members and revitalize the DTES NH as an attractive and resilient community hub for neighbours, staff, and volunteers alike. Towards this vision, Hessey conducted a comprehensive review of the DTES NH’s operations and programming in order to better understand the DTES NH’s space needs, key success factors, and community members served. This process also allowed Hessey to more clearly define the opportunities involved in a temporary and/or permanent relocation. 

Hessey prepared and proposed two major options which allowed for flexibility in planning the relocation, where Option A corresponds to the DTES NH exercising right-of-return to its current location, and Option B explores the option of an improved and expanded space that allows the DTES NH the ability to offer new programming and greater flexibility in space utilization. Each option was developed in full detail, including facility size and capacity, annual community programming hours, multi-purpose space utilization, and more. 

In addition to a traditional functional program, Hessey also produced information in coordination with external organizations to maximize the impact of the planning document.  Hessey coordinated with a potential major landlord in order to advocate for potential shell space upgrades at an opportunity site.  Hessey also coordinated with representatives of government funding programs to ensure that the content and format of the functional program met the needs of major grants.  As part of that work, Hessey coordinated with the Curve Group (construction managers) to complete a Class ‘D’ costing exercise for both major program options.  Finally, Hessey introduced DTES NH to architect Perkins&Will’s Social Purpose program in order to arrange for future pro bono consultant services. 


Community Impact Real Estate Services (CIRES)
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House (DTES NH)
Curve Group


Completed September 2020


Pre-design Services