Province purchases two Vancouver hotels as part of plan to build more affordable housing
VANCOUVER -- The province has purchased two hotels in downtown Vancouver as part of its plan to provide more affordable housing.
The 110-room Howard Johnson Hotel and the neighbouring parking lot were purchased through BC Housing for $55 million, the province announced Wednesday. The hotel, located on Granville between Davie and Helmcken streets, has been operating as a temporary supportive housing site during the coronavirus pandemic.
"There's a real need for housing for people with different incomes, from young families to seniors, and we'll be engaging with the community on how we can use this site to deliver urgently needed homes," Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said in a statement.
The province said the hotel will continue to provide temporary supportive housing as long-term plans are developed. BC Housing plans to connect with partners and the community about how the site will be used.
Additionally, the province has purchased the Buchan Hotel in Vancouver's West End for $19.4 million. The 63-room facility is located on Haro Street near Gilford Street, and is currently empty. Residents are expected to move into the building in July. The facility is intended to provide housing with supports for women.
The housing at both hotels will be operated by Atira Women's Resource Society. The province says residents will have access to services like meals, health care, addictions treatment and harm reduction, and storage for personal belongings. The sites will also have staffing 24/7 to provide security to residents of the building and surrounding area.
A new community dialogue group, set up by BC Housing, will oversee the supportive housing's integration into the community and address any concerns from the local neighbourhood.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said in a statement that the pandemic has put into focus the urgent need for housing, especially for vulnerable residents.
"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 said. "Now, more than ever, we must come together to make sure all our neighbours are safe and supported, and I cannot thank the Government of B.C. enough for its leadership."
In May, some Yaletown residents expressed concerns about safety in public spaces, especially parks in the area. Notices were posted inside residential buildings saying that Oppenheimer Park residents had moved into hotels on the Granville Street strip.