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Tag-Archive for ◊ homelessness ◊

Following a successful three-year pilot project to assist low-income renters in crisis, Mayor Gregor Robertson is highlighting the success of the Vancouver Rent Bank. Council will vote next week on a grant of $99,200 to contribute to the program’s operations for two more years.

“In a city where 52% of households rent their homes, far too many families know what it’s like to face an unexpected crisis and stay afloat in paying the rent,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The Vancouver Rent Bank has proven itself as a remarkably successful tool to help low-income renters keep their homes in times of incredible difficulty. It’s a program that prevents homelessness and provides housing stability for families in need, and I look forward to supporting it again next week at City Council.”

The Vancouver Rent Bank is a multi-partner initiative jointly funded by the City of Vancouver and a variety of community partners. In 2012, City Council approved a grant of $148,800 over three years to support its operating costs.


This morning I took part in the City’s annual homeless count. I’m proud that as a City we set an ambitious goal seven years ago to end street homelessness. While I’m disappointed today that we’re not closer to zero than we are, as a city we’ve made progress. No one ever said it would be easy, but I know Vancouverites want and expect us to set important goals and take action.

The projects we’ve invested in have helped save lives, including over 500 units of permanent, interim, and shelter housing added in the last year alone. Interim housing at the Ramada on Hastings now provides warm homes for 40 people. Taylor Manor offers 56 people housing and mental health supports. The Quality Inn on Howe Street is housing more than 100 people, many of whom were homeless in Oppenheimer Park last fall. The 14 sites in partnership with BC Housing are giving hundreds of people safe, permanent homes throughout Vancouver.

These are homes for some of our most vulnerable residents. People on welfare, foster kids, people who deal with addictions and mental illness who would otherwise be on the streets. I’m proud that we’ve enabled homes for them, and the successes we’ve seen are directly related to setting a bold goal and taking action.”

I remain fully committed to building a Vancouver where no one is ever forced to sleep outside at night, both by continued work with our partners and by taking action with every resource at the City’s disposal. We’ve come a long way since 2008, and we’re going to keep following through on what we as a City can do: providing space for shelters, investing in interim housing, and providing land for social housing with the Province.

- Mayor Gregor Robertson

This weekend featured another important milestone in our work together to end street homelessness, and build a range of new affordable housing options throughout Vancouver.

The opening of 123 quality housing units at Kingsway Continental is a significant contribution to increasing non-market rental housing stock in Vancouver. Located on Kingsway at Tyne, the City purchased the former Ramada to add new affordable housing. The positive impact of safe and affordable housing as a stabilizing effect on people’s lives cannot be overemphasized.

We’ve made important progress together toward ensuring that none of our fellow residents are ever forced to sleep on the street at night, but we still have a lot more work to do.

The infographic below highlights our action plan to rise to the challenge, and tells the story of the results we’ve achieved so far. I hope you’ll spread the word.


Today’s results from the 2014 Metro Vancouver homeless count reflect a frustrating setback in the work to end street homelessness in Vancouver, but I’m committed to seeing through our action plan to build a city where no one is ever forced to sleep outside at night.

The numbers tell a simple story: with fewer shelter beds, a delay in opening several hundred new supportive housing units this year, and the loss of decent SRO rooms at welfare rates, more people were left outside on the street. With over 600 units of new social housing opening later this year, plus new investments in interim housing by the City and Province in the Ramada and Biltmore Hotels, I’m hopeful we’ll be able to make a big impact before next winter.


An update from City staff on housing capacity for the homeless in Vancouver shows a recent loss of winter shelter beds and delays in opening new social housing, which is a big concern for the safety of our city’s most vulnerable residents, says Mayor Robertson.

“In a city with as much wealth, compassion and innovation as Vancouver, there is no reason anyone should have to sleep out on the street at night,” said Mayor Robertson. “The delays in construction for provincial social housing and lack of interim housing to fill the gap are extremely frustrating, given it is our most vulnerable citizens who suffer.

“What we saw today is that this isn’t just a funding issue. The province has made significant investments in new housing, both in Vancouver and across BC, and we’ve partnered successfully with BC Housing to help hundreds of people off the streets and into new homes. But the delays in construction and lack of protections for SROs in the Residential Tenancy Act show we need to double our efforts.”


“The results of the At Home / Chez Soi project provide one of the strongest confirmations to date that a “Housing First” approach is fundamental to ending homelessness and confronting the challenges of mental illness and addiction.

“The City partnered on the project by providing space for supportive housing for 100 residents at the Bosman Hotel. Today’s report from the Mental Health Commission of Canada confirms the success of that project and its service model, and clearly demonstrates the importance of significant new federal and provincial investment to build urgently needed new supportive housing. With the program coming to an end, the success of At Home is a clear demonstration that the federal and provincial government should continue to support the participants so that we don’t roll back the progress we’ve made, and that they can transition into stable, long-term homes with community supports.

“We’ve made important progress on Vancouver’s homelessness action plan, and I want to ensure we see it through. The success of the Housing First model shows that we’re on the right track. Working together with community partners and all levels of government, we’re committed to building a city where none of our fellow residents are ever forced to sleep on the street.”

- Mayor Gregor Robertson


For the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s full report, please click here: