Sigh of relief for seniors facing eviction in Vancouver's Chinatown
Published Friday, April 23, 2021 7:44PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- Dozens of seniors are breathing a big sigh relief after discovering they will no longer be evicted from their assisted living home in Vancouver.
Grace Seniors Home was recently purchased by the province and BC Housing for $17 million. B.C.’s attorney general said the province is also investing $6 million in renovations.
"We're pleased to announce that the province, through BC Housing, is buying the building at 333 East Pender St. This outcome means that residents can stay in their homes and continue to receive the cultural supports they need. These seniors are reliant on the immediate community, as well as each other, for their health and well-being,” said David Eby, attorney general and minister responsible for housing in B.C.
"The building will be upgraded and operated as a seniors' housing facility with Chinese cultural supports. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. will operate the building, starting on June 15, 2021. More details will be shared with residents and their families over the coming weeks.”
The news is certainly welcomed after a whirlwind two weeks of conflicting information for the residents and their families.
“To finally get some answers is so relieving to hear,” said Tim Lam, grandson of Bill Fu, who is a long-time resident of Grace Seniors Home.
Earlier this month, Lam said his grandfather received an eviction notice on the same day he was celebrating his 90th birthday. His anxiety levels intensified, as he had to consider moving during a pandemic and leaving Chinatown. Fu, who only speaks Cantonese, has lived in the community for decades.
"It was so shocking to see that they would be evicting a senior in the middle of a pandemic,” said Lam.
The privately-owned, 70-unit building was originally being sold to Lu’ma Native Housing Society, a group that offers social housing to Indigenous people, in partnership with the B.C. government.
The landlord of Grace Seniors Home informed the residents they had to be out of the building by May 31, according to Lam.
“I’m not sure where the landlord was getting this information from. I can only assume a lot of internal negotiations were happening with the government and the landlord,” said Lam.
Lu'ma Native Housing Society agreed to transfer the purchase to the province, and will be working with BC Housing and CMHC to identify a different property to purchase to provide homes for Indigenous peoples experiencing homelessness.