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Our History

Photo: Mark Janousek

Kinbrace launched in 1998 as British Columbia’s first dedicated housing for refugee claimants.

Until 2012, it operated under Salsbury Community Society, a grass-roots charity rooted in the faith community of Grandview Calvary Baptist Church.

From the start, Salsbury nurtured charitable initiatives in the Grandview Woodlands neighbourhood of east Vancouver. In addition to Kinbrace, it established affordable permanent housing (Co:Here), a social enterprise (JustWork), and a movement to end human trafficking and sexual exploitation (REED). Kinbrace registered as a separate charity in 2012, and continues to partner closely with its sibling organizations.

The Kinbrace dream quickly became a dynamic community of welcome to refugee claimants, thanks to the support of many visionary partners, including Hawthorne Charitable Foundation. With its commitment to social investment, Hawthorne worked with Salsbury to purchase two contiguous properties in 1998 and 2005, providing the perfect physical space for Kinbrace to offer affordable, supportive housing and engage community building.

What’s in our name?


We intentionally created the word “Kinbrace” by bringing together kinship and embrace. With the advent of Google, we learned our creativity was preempted by hundreds of years: there’s a village in Scotland by the same name! In recent years we have met, online, with a few of the friendly people of Kinbrace, Scotland, and have appreciated learning about their history.