The B.C. government announced Monday that two shelters offering a total of 120 beds will be in place by April for people currently living in tents in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park.
The shelters will be located at 875 Terminal Ave. and at 15-27 East Hastings St. and be operated by nonprofit housing operators. Each shelter will have 60 beds.
"We need to get people inside into dignified, supportive shelter as quickly as possible to prevent death or serious injury for those trying to stay warm outside this winter," said David Eby, Attorney General and minister responsible for housing, in a press release.
The city owns the building at 875 Terminal Ave., which is near the overpass at Clark Drive and in the same neighbourhood as several car dealerships. The area has also been popular with people living in recreational vehicles.
A $1.8 million grant from the federal government will fund renovations of the property.
The site at 15-27 East Hastings St. is being co-leased by the City of Vancouver and B.C. Housing, the housing arm of the provincial government.
“Staff will be on site 24-7 to support shelter guests,” the release said. “They will provide daily healthy meals, access to laundry and showers, assistance filling out housing application forms, as well as referral to community and health services, if needed.”
The government also announced it will provide rent supplements for 30 people who require fewer support services and can move from supportive housing into private rental properties. The government says this will help free up spaces in supportive housing buildings, enabling shelter guests to move into the vacant units.
The buildings are called “supportive” because they provide tenants with access to health care and other needs.
The government will provide the operating funding for the shelters, but did not release the cost or say how long the shelters will be in place. Some of the shelters opened in 2008 when Gregor Robertson was mayor of Vancouver are still in place, including one on Central Street near Main and Terminal.
The Strathcona Park homeless camp has operated since June 2020. Estimates from housing activists have said the population is about 200 people. The park board recently closed off a section of the park to prevent further expansion of the camp.