Some much-needed safe housing units for those who live in the Downtown Eastside are on the way, according to the B.C. government.
In an update by B.C.’s Ministry of Housing and its partners for their Downtown Eastside response plan, officials said 330 new homes will be available for those in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood by “the end of June.”
The 330 homes include 89 units from the two temporary supportive housing projects opening this spring at 1525 and 1535 Western St. and 2142 Ash St., and a mix of renovated single-room-occupancy (SRO) units and other supportive housing units, the province said in a Sunday afternoon press conference.
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“Everyone in the Downtown Eastside deserves a safe, stable and supportive place to call home,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of housing.
“Over the past several months, we led work with Indigenous, community and government partners to develop a co-ordinated response plan to help people get off the streets and into homes, and make the Downtown Eastside a healthier, safer and more hopeful place for everyone.”
In July 2022, Vancouver Fire Rescue ordered that all tents and structures be removed from East Hastings Street. The number of structures has decreased from 180 to 74.
Since then, the province said it, along with its partners, has been working on a comprehensive plan to open the 330 units of housing as a response to the order.
Through the plan, more than 90 people who have been sheltering on East Hastings have accepted housing offers and have moved into “safe homes” already, the Ministry of Housing said.
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As it stands, there are 117 people sheltering on East Hastings Street, and 70 of them have expressed a desire for safe housing, according to the province.
“͞The challenges we see in the Downtown Eastside are real and significant. (Sunday) marks an important step forward,” Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said.
“I know that by working together, we will secure quality housing for our city’s most vulnerable residents and deliver a better future for the Downtown Eastside.”
The City of Vancouver, along with the province, is working toward ensuring there are enough shelter spaces available for everyone until the new housing units are available in June.
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