VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Two hotels in Vancouver have been purchased by the province as part of a plan to build more affordable housing.
The Howard Johnson Hotel has 110 rooms at 1176 Granville St., while the Buchan Hotel has 63 at 1906 Haro St.
“We’re taking action to build more affordable rental homes in Vancouver, as we continue to provide supportive housing and healthcare to people right now. There’s a real need for housing for people with different incomes, from young families to seniors,” Selina Robinson, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, says in a release.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said the pandemic reinforced the need for more affordable housing in the city.
“These hotel rooms will provide immediate safety and shelter while we work with the province and the community to develop the long-term vision,” he added.
The Howard Johnson site will operate as temporary supportive housing while long-term plans to develop the site and adjacent parking lot are developed.
More affordable homes are on the way for Vancouver: The Province, through BC Housing, purchased two properties as part of a long-term plan to build a mix of affordable homes for people in Vancouver. Learn more: https://t.co/KyvnMWBQGG pic.twitter.com/D3bZvuLV9c
— BC Housing (@BC_Housing) June 24, 2020
The Buchan Hotel site is empty and will be used to provide housing, with supports, for women. Residents are expected to move in next month.
“The purchase of these hotels holds great short- and long-term potential for providing much-needed safe and secure housing that goes beyond four walls and a bed,” said Shane Simpson, minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
Atira Women’s Resource Society will operate the housing at both hotels, which will have access to services such as meals, health care, addictions treatment, and harm reduction, as well as storage for personal belongings.
“Atira is thrilled to be a partner in this essential housing,” said Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira. “Especially at this time, it’s even more important that we all come together to ensure people’s fundamental right to housing is honoured, while at the same time, ensuring that the health and well-being of everyone, including people traditionally marginalized by mainstream society, is paramount.”
The sites are to 24-hour staffing to provide security to residents of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood.
BC Housing is also setting up a community dialogue group to oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community and will address any concerns raised by people in the neighbourhood.
The latest purchases are in addition to the 780 supportive homes that have been opened in Vancouver in the last two years.