Housing stories: Turning darkness into purpose

April 12, 2024

When Tyauna and her 18-year-old daughter moved into a two-bedroom home at Fourth Plain Commons last October, it was so much more than a new place to live. It was freedom. Freedom from fear and the stress that occupies your mind when you can’t afford the upcoming rent payment. Freedom to focus on what matters. Freedom to dream.

“I wasn’t going to crumble,” said Tyauna. “I had to realize that I mattered, I deserved happiness and that no one should accept things to a lesser standard. We all deserve clean, affordable, safe housing and peace.”  

Throughout Tyauna’s life, she has been tested with challenges such as homelessness, addiction, four cancer diagnoses and now, permanent disability. Despite it all, she’s created a better life for her four children and others in her shoes.  

The Commons is a 106-unit, permanently affordable community made possible in part by a $1.5 million contribution from Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Fund. The property is managed by the Vancouver Housing Authority, which charges its tenants rent based on 30% of their household income.

Because Tyauna is on permanent disability, this is the first time in her life she can comfortably and consistently pay her rent in full each month.

57% of Vancouver renters are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
Tyauna sits in her new home on the fourth story of the Fourth Plain Community Commons holding photos of her four children.

Since moving in, Tyauna spends her days connecting with people, using public transit to visit friends and working on scrapbooks she hopes to gift to each of her children. Those four, young adult children are her motivation and her proudest achievement. And they’re doing well, too, with one working as an engineer for Vigor, and the other three attending college.

She hopes eventually to rejoin the workforce, at a job that feeds her soul and passion for social justice. She also hopes to set up a vision boarding workshop for her community at Fourth Plain Commons.

“I want to make people feel less alone and more understood,” said Tyauna.

How can we make Vancouver a better place to live for everyone?

Join us this April to map our future

Addressing the need for housing, especially affordable options, is a top priority for the City of Vancouver. Explore all the tools we’re using to address housing today.

As part of Vancouver’s next comprehensive plan, Our Vancouver, we have an exciting opportunity to shape our future growth and development, including how we support the development of needed housing for the entire community. Join us for one of several community workshops to help us develop new land-use possibilities to expand housing options in our growing city.

Help us shape our future! Join us this April for a community mapping activity to shape our future growth and development, including more housing options like Tyauna's.