2 shelters with 24-hour support set to open in Vancouver this April, province says
A message is written on a door outside a tent at a homeless encampment at Strathcona Park, in Vancouver, on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
VANCOUVER -- B.C. has announced two temporary shelters will open in the spring, both offering 24-hour support services.
In a release, the provincial government says one shelter will open at 875 Terminal Ave. in April, another at 15-27 West Hastings St. at the end of the month. Both locations require renovations before opening and will offer 60 beds each.
The Terminal Avenue property is owned by the City of Vancouver, while the West Hastings location is being co-leased by B.C. Housing and the city. The renovations are being paid for with a $1.8 million grant through the federal government’s homelessness program called Reaching Home.
The release says experienced, non-profit housing providers will be selected to operate the shelters. Adding that staff on site will “provide daily healthy meals, access to laundry and showers, assistance filling out housing application forms, as well as referral to community and health services, if needed.”
"These new shelter spaces will provide 120 people with a bed and supports to help them stay safe, warm, fed and alive, while we continue to work with our partners to open permanent supportive housing across the city,” said David Eby, attorney general and minister responsible for housing. “This is part of our response to Strathcona, but there will be more to come. I am very grateful to everyone in Vancouver for pulling together to address this ongoing and unacceptable crisis in our city."
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says the new shelters show that when all levels of government work together they can provide beds and services for hundreds of residents.
According to the release, the province is also funding 30 new rental supplements that will be available for people who “require fewer support services.” The aim is to help people move into private rentals and free up space in supportive housing.
“Since 2017, the province has opened 1,000 new supportive housing homes - all are occupied,” the release says. “Approximately 100 temporary supportive homes are set to open this summer and 350 more homes are being proposed in multiple locations throughout the city.”
Last week the Vancouver Park Board moved to reclaim part of Strathcona Park from the tent encampment by installing a two-metre-high fence in the middle. Those living in the park were told to move out of the west side, but could remain on the east side of the fence.