VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver has bought a hotel to help house the city’s homeless.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart says the city has used some of its funds from the federal Rapid Housing Initiative Funding to purchase the Days Inn hotel on Kingsway near Victoria Drive in East Vancouver.
“This building will allow us to provide warm, safe homes for approximately 65 people who were previously experiencing homelessness across Vancouver and, just as importantly, connect them to services and programs to support their well being,” he explained.
The several types of services people will be able to access include help getting a job to assistance in addressing addictions.
“And importantly, for a lot of our residents, cultural reconnection programs,” Stewart added.
Ensuring sufficient supports on site and/or in community will be critical to successfully transition the people moving into housing, and to mitigate impacts on neighbouring community. Without this proactive work, we see what happened with hasty rollout on Granville St. …
— Sarah Kirby-Yung 楊瑞蘭 (@sarahkirby_yung) March 1, 2021
Stewart says the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the homeless.
“COVID-19 threw us a curve ball with the pandemic impacting our every day lives. How we work, how we see our loved ones, how we shop, how we play. Combined with the ongoing overdose crisis and long-existing housing crisis, the pandemic has had a massive impact on everyone in our city and everyone knows it’s been really tough,” he said Monday, noting the only way to address the homelessness and housing crisis is to build more housing.
This comes as the city works to clear the homeless encampment at Strathcona Park. People living in the west half of the park were told they had until 10 a.m. on Feb. 17 to move out as part of the Park Board’s efforts to reclaim the greenspace for the community.
The City of Vancouver is receiving about $51.5 million in funding through the federal government.
The mayor says the soon-to-be-former Days Inn hotel will need to be renovated before it is opened up as housing.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the amount the City of Vancouver is receiving from the federal government.