Downtown Eastside Vancouver Rainier Hotel Re-Opens for Women’s Social Housing
The complex offers homes and hope according to Kristen T. of MetroNews Vancouver. Forty one women who had been sleeping in alleys or shelters will now have a safe place to call home with the opening of the women’s housing social apartment complex in the downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Rainier Hotel was re-opened yesterday after a $9.5 million contribution from the provincial and federal governments and $5 million from Health Canada. The 41-unit, single room occupancy Rainier Hotel Vancouver downtown eastside building will have a 20 unit treatment program for women in recovery from detox and 21 units for social housing tenants. “In our community there is a lot to be sad about,” said Liz Evans, founder of the Portland Hotel Socity, which will be managing the third floor units at the downtown Eastside social housing Rainer Hotel in Vancouver. “This building represents homes and hope for the women in the Vancouver downtown eastside. This will have a great impact on the lives of the people here.” Heather Hay, with Vancouver Coastal Health said yesterday was a “benchmark day,” for the women of Downtown Eastside Vancouver and social housing. “Housing is often the first step in recovery, but it isn’t enough,” she said. “By offering a rnage of supports to vulnerable women after detox treatment, we are giving them the tools to become stable, regain control of their health and establish a foundation for ongoing recovery.” Expanding social housing has been a priority for the provincial government. The Rainier Hotel in Downtown Eastside Vancouver was one of six single room occupancy social housing hotels bought by the BC government last year to protect and expand affordable housing. To date, the province has acquired 23 hotels with 1350 units in Vancouver, mostly in the downtown Eastside for social housing and treatment facilities. Renovations are currently underway at 11 of the buildings.
Vancouver Social Housing Update - March 2009 - BC To Fund New Affordable Social Housing Sites
The provincial government of British Columbia has announced that it will fund and build six long awaited social housing sites in Vancouver, part of a year old pledge to fast track a dozen social housing projects on city-owned land. This is according to 24Hours Vancouver and written by Irwin L on March 18, 2009. The six new Vancouver social housing sites will be located at: 1338 Seymour Street (with 105 new social housing units in Vancouver Downtown), 1005 Station Street (with 80 new Vancouver social housing suites), 525 Abbott Street in Gastown with 108 units, 188 East 1st Avenue in East Vancouver with 129 new social housing units, 3212 Dunbar Street with 51 units and 339 West Pender Street with 96 new affordable housing suites. This move by the BC government came on Tuesday as advocates in the Downtown Vancouver Eastside accused the province on failing to deliver on their election promises. By kick starting $172 million in funding for affordable social housing in Vancouver, these will be an additional 569 units built in the next year. Five of the six Vancouver social housing sites are in downtown Eastside. This is only half of the promised Vancouver social housing projects that was promised back in 2007. If fully constructed, the dozen Vancouver social housing sites would see up to 1200 small studio units of housing for low income singles, with many catered towards hard to house clients with mental health and addiction service providers.
Metro Vancouver Homeless Tally Up 22 Per Cent
This according to 24Hrs Matt K: Metro Vancouver has 22 per cent more homeless today than it did three years ago. The Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness published the final results of its March 2008 Homeless Count. “We’ve approximately named the report ‘Still on our Streets…,’” said Val MacDonald, the chair of the Steering Committeee’s communications working group. “Without exception, all communities showed an increase in homelessness.” Volunteers tallied 2,660 homeless people during the 24 hour count, which is meant to provide a “snapshot” of Vancouver’s homeless situation. In 2005, volunteers reported 2,174 homeless people. This year’s homeless numbers are particularly staggering for the Aboriginal community. After a 34 per cent spike in their homeless population, Aboriginals now make up 32 per cent of all homeless people in Vancouver included in the count. “The findings of Aboriginal homelessness are some of the most disturbing,” said Ken Clement, the chair of Lu’ma Native Housing Society. “We can’t afford to look at Vancouver homelessness just as one piece of the problem. It’s a system issue. We need to act.” Both Clement and MacDonald challenged all levels of governments to step up with funding to meet the growing demand to house the Metro Vancouver homeless.
Numbers Show Homelessness Still Rising in Greater Vancouver
According to Andrea W of Metro Vancouver newspaper: The findings of last March’s homelessness count were released yesterday, confirming what is no surprise to Vancouver locals: homelessness is on the rise. The count, done by the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee (RSCH), showed that there were at least 2,660 homeless people on the streets in Metro Vancouver during the 24 hours in which it was conducted. The total number of homeless people in Vancouver, however, is likely much higher. “Considering that 24 hour point in time counts inherently undercount the homeless, the numbers in the report tell us that the region is experiencing a continued growth in homelessness,” said Alice Sundberg, co-chair of the RSCH, in a statement. The report also found that Metro Vancouver homeless people in the region increased by an estimated 22 per cent since 2005 and 137 per cent since the first count in 2002. Street homelessness in Vancouver increased by 40 per cent since 2005 and by 373 per cent since 2002. Aboriginal people represented 32 per cent of all Vancouver homeless people surveyed, despite making up only two per cent of the Greater Vancouver region’s population.
North Shore Outlook- Homeless Count in Vancouver
The North Shore’s homeless population is now the fourth largest in Metro Vancouver real estate. According to the 2008 Homeless Count in Greater Vancouver the number of people living without shelter grew 40 per cent (to 113) since volunteers last conducted the 24 hour survey in 2005. Based on the number of homeless turned away at the North Shore Lookout Emergency Shelter, executive director Karen O’Shannacery knew this wasn’t a typo in the report. “The visible homeless is on the rise not just on the North Shore, but everywhere,” she said. “We’re not surprised by the drastic jump at all.” The overall number of homeless people in Metro Vancouver jumped by 22 per cent from 2005. The number of homeless on the North Shore ranks only behind Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey. If anything, O’Shannacery said the homeless numbers collected during the point-in-time count are underreported. The North Shore homeless shelter has limited capacity: 45 temporary beds and 25 traditional housing units. “There’s a number of people living on the streets [in North and West Vancouver] because they refuse to leave because this is where their comfort zone is,” she explained. Many are forced to live rough because of a dearth of shelter beds and – perhaps- more importantly – supported North Shore housing units. “Where is the affordable, supported housing?” she asks. Breaking the cycle of homelessness on the North Shore required permanent housing options with support services for those wishing to transition from life ont eh streets. At the moment, there’s only a “nominal” supply of supportive housing units on the North Shore, she added. Last year the provincial government announced more than $80 million in funding for approximately 1,000 supportive housing units in Vancouver, Victoria and Burnaby. O’Shannacery conceded that North and West Vancouver may suffer from the “attitude that the North Shore is wealthy and can meet their own needs,” and believes North Shore municipalities must increase pressure on federal and provincial governments to start an affordable housing supply program for the homeless on the North Shore. “The North Shore has even less affordable housing than Vancouver and other municipalities. [The temporary shelter] is the pathway to the solution – not the solution.” – The Outlook.
Government Parties Promise Housing
According to Carlito P for the Georgia Straight Real Estate section. When police started ticketing homeless people camped out in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park last summer, Kathy Walker and her neighbours decided to take action. They started going to the park early in the morning, when police started arriving, and they stood in solidarity with the campers. One evening, Walker, a resident of the Jackson Avenue housing cooperative on the east side of the park, camped out with her young daughters amid the homeless. At one time, walker said, she counted about 30 tents in the park. In mid-August, the campers were moved into hotels and housing units owned by the provincial government. Walker recalled that one woman told her she had been on a housing wait list for the past five years. Oppenheimer Park has returned to what it was prior to the camp-out. But according to Walker, there are always homeless people hanging out there. With the federal election campaign in full swing, Walker wants to hear politicians talk more about what their respective parties intend to do about homeless and housing the homeless. “It’s such a basic thing for human dignity,” Walker to the Straight by phone on September 22nd. “People need decent, safe place to live.” On Sept 16, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that if reelected, his government will give first time home buyers a tax credit of $5,000 of the closing costs of a house purchase. The next day, ministers Monte Solberg and John Baird rolled out a pledge that a new Conservative government will extend for five years three programs with funding of $1.9 billion. These are the Affordable Housing Initiative, the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. For their part, the federal Liberals have promised to tackle the Vancouver housing crisis by providing 30,000 new social housing gunits. They will also refurbish 30,000 existing units. The Liberal platform also includes expanding subsidies for low income people living in federally funded co-op housing in downtown Vancouver east side.
More about Social Housing Vancouver
Like the Conservatives, the Liberals pledged to renew the RRAP. They will also continue with the Homeless Partnering Initiative, a component of the HPS. If ever they get to form a government, the NDP has am ambitious program to implement. They will start a 10 year national housing program that will build 200,000 social housing and co-op units. They will also renovate 100,000 existing units. Rent supplements will be given to 40,000 low income tenants. An NDP government will underwrite low interest mortgages on affordable housing. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will be redirected to fund social housing. The Greens are more modest. They have promised to build 20,000 social housing units and rehabilitate 10,000 existing units over the next 10 years. They will also provide credit and loan guararntees to nonprofit housing organizations and co-ops. The Greens will subsidize private real estate developers who include affordable housing in their housing projects. If politicians aren’t saying much about the housing and homelessness, voters themselves can put these issues front and centre. The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, a national organization representing nonprofit housing groups, has assembled a tool kit so that anyone can be a “housing champion” in his or her riding. The kit has a sample letter or email to candidates that explains why social housing in Canada has to be on the campaign agenda. It states that four million Canadians “live in housing they can’t afford, that is overcrowded or that is unhealthy or unsafe.” When the Striaght first talked with Walker on August 15, the day after campers were removed from Oppenheimer Park, she offered a smiple solution to help ease the problem of homelessness. “With all the energy and resources and time going to prepare for the Olympics, if we can divert some of the time and energy and money… we could get people off the streets and into decent social housing.”Tents No Vancouver Housing Answer
According to the 24Hrs Vancouver newspaper: Vancouver’s less fortunate can no longer be shuffled out of sight, homeless advocates charged yesterday. Speaking outside of city hall, Streams of Justice organizer David Diewert cited a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that allows Vancouver homeless people to erect tents in parks and on public grounds in Victoria as a catalyst for a parallel action in Vancouver. “All this is really doing is brining into the visible landscape the true reality of desperation and homelessness that are in our cities,” Diewert said of the decision. Pivot Legal Society lawyer Laura Track said a case before Vancouver courts to strike down a similar vagrancy bylaw should yield the same result since the number of homeless people in Vancouver is more than double the number of available shelter beds. If city attorneys in Victoria had been able to provie there was sufficient shelter space, the judge would have faced a more difficult position, she said. Still, Diewert said tents are no solution, and called for the immediate opening of vacant Vancouver housing. Diewart is taking part in a seven day fast and vigil on city hall property to mark Homelessness Action Week. An article by Dharm M for 24 Hours.
Social Housing and Homelessness Activists take on Vancouver Housing Hurdles through the Eastside Vancouver Poverty Olympics
According to MetroNews Vancouver’s Jeff H., activists in the downtown Eastside Vancouver held a $6 Olympics yesterday in protest of the $6 billion Olympics in Vancouver-Whistler 2010 that wil take place in Vancouver in little more than a year from now. The Poverty Olympics, as they call themselves featured short skits of athletic events like Housing Hurdles, Wrestling for Community and Skating Around Poverty. Gena, who co-hosted the second annual event dressed as mascot Chewy the Rat, said she was representing all the people of downtown Eastside Vancouver “who have go nothing out of all the Olympic promises.” The Vancouver Eastside Poverty Olympics began with a torch relay and protest march through the Vancouver downtown eastside to the Japanese Language school on Alexander Street. The first event, Sweeping Aside Poverty (curling), featured poverty Olympians pitching rocks (painted milk jugs) across a carboard ice sheet covered with obstacles like bureaucratic red tape and paper clips. Meanwhils, their opponents, a slick looking team called Vanoc, had no such difficulty. They were able to sweep away obstacles with bailout brooms or cut thorugh them with help from their friends in the police and corporate media. The Vancouver Poverty Olympics has been a hot issue around town lately.
Labels: Affordable Housing, Metro Vancouver Homelessness, Proverty Olympics, Trends, Vancouver Social Housing