Today the third of four City of Vancouver temporary winter shelters has ceased operations and the province has offered housing assistance to all the residents.
When the shelter at 1442 Howe Street stopped accepting new residents on April 1, there were 40 people staying there. Of these 40 people, 18 accepted housing offers, 20 went to other housing options, and two declined offers of housing assistance.
The one remaining shelter, at 677 E. Broadway, is scheduled to close tomorrow. Of the people remaining at this shelter, many have already accepted housing offers or have identified housing options for themselves. At the other two shelters that have closed, at 747 Cardero St. and 1642 W. 4th, 39 people accepted housing offers, 23 went to other housing options, and 11 declined offers of housing assistance.
The Province and the City jointly committed to these neighbourhood-based shelters operating for a fixed term of 120 days until the end of April, and the City's development permits were specifically issued for that time period. These were clearly identified as temporary winter response shelters, just like they were last year. These four shelters also closed last April.
The Province continues to support the operation of more than 650 year-round emergency shelter beds in Vancouver, with $17 million in annual funding. This is nearly double the number of year-round beds that were available in 2005, when the Province provided over $5 million for the operation of 331 year-round beds in Vancouver.
Last week the Province announced a $12-million provincial investment at the opening of the new, expanded Union Gospel Mission facility, with an increased capacity of 100 additional shelter beds and supportive housing units, for a total of 183 beds and apartments. Earlier this week the province announced a two-month funding extension for the 40-bed Stanley/New Fountain shelter, one of the original HEAT shelters that first opened in 2008.
More than 300 new, permanent supportive housing apartments will come on-stream in Vancouver during this two-month period. These apartments are part of the provincial investment of over $300 million toward 1,530 new supportive housing apartments on 14 sites in Vancouver. Approximately 570 of these apartments will be available by the end of 2011.
Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect