June 29, 2009
Ministry of Housing and Social
EXTENDS FUNDING FOR VANCOUVER HEAT SHELTERS
VANCOUVER – The Province and the City of Vancouver have reached an agreement about the future operations of the Homeless Emergency Action Team (HEAT) shelters, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman announced today.
Funding for one of the shelters, at 1435 Granville St., is ending and the shelter will close on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. BC Housing will transition as many people as possible from this shelter into new accommodation. The shelter has 36 beds.
“The HEAT shelters provide basic shelter for people who would otherwise be on the street and opportunities for them to transition to more permanent, stable housing options,” said Coleman. “That said, Mary McNeil, MLA for Vancouver-False Creek, Mayor Gregor Robertson and I have listened to the neighbourhood’s concerns about the Granville Street Shelter and we believe that closing it immediately is the best option for everyone involved.”
The Howe St. Shelter at 1442 Howe St. will immediately begin a 30-day community consultation process to determine its future status. The shelter will remain open during this consultation period. If the province is satisfied that the neighbourhood’s concerns are sufficiently addressed, the shelter will continue to be funded until April 30, 2010. The Howe St. Shelter has 36 beds and is operated by RainCity Housing.
The remaining three shelters are receiving funding extensions until April 30, 2010. These shelters are:
As well, the City has agreed to put $5 million toward 100 units of supportive housing, which will help to alleviate shelter usage by providing people with more permanent housing.
“The City of Vancouver is pleased to partner with the Province to
maintain shelters and create more supportive housing,” said Robertson. “I look
forward to continuing to work with the Minister to find housing solutions.”
The low-barrier shelters were announced in December 2008 as a response
to help Vancouver’s homeless citizens during an extremely cold winter. The
Province, City of Vancouver and Streetohome Foundation each provided funding of
$500,000 at the time. The Province provided an additional $1.5 million in March
2009 to keep the shelters open until the end of June.
In addition to the HEAT shelters, there are currently more than 600 year-round shelter beds available in Vancouver that receive annual funding of nearly $17 million. The Province has invested about $90 million to purchase 23 Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels in the Downtown Eastside since 2005 to protect and upgrade approximately 1,440 units of low-income housing. Since March, approximately 150 SRO units have been renovated and opened, and another 350 units will open in various developments in the next several months.
The Province has also provided approximately $175 million for new
supportive housing units on 14 sites identified by Vancouver. The balance of
the funding will come from the proceeds of the sale and redevelopment of the
provincially-owned Little Mountain housing site.
The Province funds approximately 26,000 units of subsidized housing in Vancouver with a total annual subsidy of about $105 million through a variety of programs. Across B.C., the Province is investing more than $469 million in housing and support services this year.
Media Relations Officer
Ministry of Housing and Social Development
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