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B.C. buys two Vancouver hotels for homeless

The $74.4 million in deals follows the purchase of two Victoria hotels to house people living in tent encampments
The Howard Johnson on Granville in Vancouver

The B.C. government has bought a 110-room hotel on Granville Street and 63-room hotel in the Vancouver’s West End to house the homeless and others in immediate need, and provide long-term affordable housing.

The acquisitions, worth a total of nearly $75 million, follows the province’s recent purchase of two hotels in Victoria for to house homeless from two tent encampments in the capital city.

The Vancouver deals are the 110-room Howard Johnson Hotel at 1176 Granville Street, bought for $55 million, and the Buchan Hotel at 1906 Haro Street, bought for $19.4 million. The Buchan will provide housing with supports for women. The hotel is empty, and residents will begin moving into the Buchan in July.

“Housing is the foundation of people’s lives and of healthy, safe communities,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We’re taking action to build more affordable rental homes in Vancouver, as we continue to provide supportive housing and health care to people right now. 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.”

In the interim, the Howard Johnson site will operate as temporary supportive housing while long-term plans are developed. BC Housing said the hotel and adjacent parking lot can be used to tackle the housing crisis and build a mix of homes for people in Vancouver.

“The purchase of these hotels holds great short- and long-term potential for providing much-needed safe and secure housing that goes beyond four walls and a bed,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “

Atira Women’s Resource Society will operate the housing at both hotels, which include wraparound supports where people have access to services such as meals, health care, addictions treatment and harm reduction, as well as storage for personal belongings. The sites also have 24/7 staffing to provide security to residents of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood.

BC Housing is setting up a new community dialogue group that will oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community and will address any concerns raised by people in the neighbourhood.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart praised the purchases. ” I cannot thank the Government of B.C. enough for its leadership,” he said.

On May 15 the B.C. government purchased the Comfort Inn and Suites in Victoria for $18.5 million to provide temporary shelter with supports for 65 people living in homeless camps at in the city. This was followed June 2 by the province’s purchase of the 75-room Paul’s Motor Inn on Douglas Street for about $15 million to also provide temporary supportive housing for people without homes in Victoria.

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