$14M REOPENS SUPPORTIVE HOUSING IN DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE
January 7th, 2009
VANCOUVER – A $14-million collaboration between federal, provincial, municipal and community partners has resulted in the official reopening of the Pennsylvania Hotel, which provides 44 units for Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The federal government has provided over $4 million in housing and homelessness funding for the Pennsylvania Hotel project.
“The Government of Canada is supporting many Canadians with housing needs and is fulfilling its commitment to help those seeking to break free of the cycle of homelessness and poverty,” said Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. “This development will help ensure essential supportive housing, and offer access to services that will help individuals in need.”
The Province, through the Provincial Housing Program (PHP), provided approximately $4.6 million for renovations and will provide $341,000 annually in operational funding for daily, round-the-clock support services and staffing.
“Access to secure and affordable housing is a fundamental part of building a healthy community,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development. “The opportunity to work with federal, municipal and community partners to support housing solutions like this one will help us break the cycle of homelessness.”
Metro Vancouver provided a grant of $850,000 to the project. Metro Vancouver owns and operates over 3,400 units of affordable housing throughout the region, providing homes for more than 10,000 people.
“Metro Vancouver is proud to work with the City of Vancouver, provincial and federal governments and other partners to help provide solutions to homelessness,” said Don Littleford, manager, Regional Housing, Metro Vancouver.
The City of Vancouver provided $1.3 million for renovations and façade restorations, and Concord Pacific contributed with the $3.6-million heritage density transfer.
“This project demonstrates the positive collaboration between all levels of government and community partners, which is resulting in safe, affordable housing for those who need it most,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “By working together to provide stable housing solutions for low-income residents, we are moving closer towards our goal of making sure everyone has a place to live.”
“The Downtown Eastside is a community and has its own unique problems just like other communities, but also has more serious ones like homelessness and drugs,” said Terry Hui, president and CEO, Concord Pacific Group Inc. “Problems in a community are best solved by leaders and groups who have lived and worked in a community for a long time and have established a successful track record. Homelessness is the highest priority problem in social housing today. Concord Pacific, with its roots in housing, is pleased to support and work with leading Downtown Eastside community groups and the various levels of government to help solve the homelessness problem that is concentrated in, and unique to, this community within our great city.”
The Pennsylvania Hotel, originally built in 1906 by architect William Tuff Whiteway, is located along the Carrall Greenway in the Historic Precinct. The Portland Hotel Society (PHS) will manage and provide affordable housing and support services for low-income singles who are at risk of homelessness.
“It’s an exciting day that we dreamt of and struggled towards for years – to save this beautiful old hotel for the community; we can’t believe it has actually happened,” said Liz Evans, PHS executive director and founder. “We would like to commend and thank Premier Gordon Campbell, the mayor, the federal government, Metro Vancouver and Concord Pacific, our private developer partner who put all differences aside and worked with us to create homes for our low-income community.”
Budget 2008 increased the amount the Province invests in affordable housing and shelters to more than $400 million a year, more than three times as much as in 2001.
Reprinter from http://www.bchousing.org/news/news_releases/archive/2009/01/07/5590_0901070954-529.