The story of how ANHBC evolved to operate eight neighbourhood houses and an outdoor camp goes back almost as far as BC’s history as a Canadian province.
Since 1891, what’s known today as ANHBC has operated in Metro Vancouver as a hospital, an orphanage and a fresh-air camp before focusing on community-based neighbourhood houses that welcome, and offer programs and services to everyone, regardless of background.
ANHBC is part of a neighbourhood and settlement house movement that began an ocean away in 19th century England. As rural residents migrated to cities in search of work and immigrants fled persecution in continental Europe, they left behind their families, communities and everything that was familiar to them. The neighbourhood and settlement house movement – starting with the establishment of Toynbee Hall in London in the mid-1880s – recognized a need for public recreation programs, day nurseries for working parents (the city’s first), English as a second language and adult literacy classes, and a new profession called social work.
Today, the eight neighbourhood houses and Sasamat Camp are hubs for community development activities, programs and services that address and adapt to local needs; there are thousands of neighbourhood houses in more than 30 countries around the world.
As an organization that has navigated over 127 years of Canadian history, we recognize the importance of listening, learning and acting as allies to our community members. As we learn about our history, and complicity in the oppression of Indigenous People, we strive to make positive changes within our organization and neighbourhoods we serve. At ANHBC, we are committed to Truth and Reconciliation, decolonization and anti-racism, click here to learn more.