VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Exactly one week after ordering the evacuation of people living in the dilapidated Balmoral Hotel on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the city says it has found a place for them to go.
In a statement, the City of Vancouver says staff, along with BC Housing, have been able to secure 131 housing units and people are able to move into them right away. They say pets are allowed in almost all the units.
“They’re the same size and type of room that people are living in at the Balmoral, only of course not in terrible shape,” general manager of community services Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas says. “It’s within the neighbourhood so, so people won’t be far from where their current community is.”
According to the tenants list, there are 128 agreements in the Balmoral right now so Llewellyn-Thomas says the city feels confident they can house everyone.
The privately-owned building has been neglected for decades by the owners, the Sahota family, and a May 30 engineering review found it had structural problems.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson had previously described the hotel’s conditions as “disgusting.”
Earlier this month, the city set an eviction deadline of June 12, telling people they had until then to get out and it reiterates that date hasn’t changed.
“Over the past week, city staff, BC Housing, and non-profit partners have been going all-out to secure homes – not shelter spaces – for every tenant who is being displaced due to the evacuation of the Balmoral. I’m very pleased that BC Housing has come forward to help us secure homes for all of the Balmoral tenants, and ensuring that they will rent at welfare rates,” Robertson said in the release. “The safety and security of the tenants during the transition is our top priority and City staff will continue to work with BC Housing and Vancouver Coastal Health to support the tenants in the move.”
The Sahota family operates a number of Vancouver buildings for low-income residents. The family has been the subject of maintenance issues over the past few years. The building, at 159 Hastings Street, has 176 rooms.
The city is also awaiting the next steps to take the family to court for more than 150 violations related to the Balmoral Hotel.