The B.C. government is providing $3.7 million in funding to keep three temporary HEAT shelters in Vancouver open for an additional 12 months.
Together, the shelters offer close to 200 emergency shelter spaces in the city. The funding will extend operations at Stanley New Fountain at 51B W. Cordova and 201 Central Street until March 2014. The First United Church HEAT Shelter at 320 E. Hastings will be extended until July 2014.
The HEAT shelters supplement more than 638 permanent year-round emergency shelter spaces that operate in the city through $26.5 million in annual provincial funding. Another $1.6 million funds homeless outreach teams in Vancouver that connect people who are homeless with shelters, housing and support services.
The extension will allow extra time for clients using the shelters to be connected to more permanent supportive housing units, including the new projects currently under development. Fourteen new supportive housing developments are being built in partnership with the City of Vancouver to create more than 1,500 new supportive apartments to help address homelessness. Seven buildings are complete and the remaining seven with 875 supportive apartments are under construction and in development.
While shelters are an important element of the provincial housing strategy, the government is committed creating housing that helps people move off the streets permanently, targeting public funds where they can have the greatest impact.
Premier Christy Clark -
"Our government works closely with community organizations to put the housing and supports in place that will help end homelessness. These efforts are making a difference. Over the next two years we will open another 875 supportive apartments in Vancouver. Keeping these spaces open for the next year will ensure safe shelter remains available while those apartments are completed."
Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Minister Responsible for Housing -
"Shelters play a critical role in reducing street homelessness in Vancouver. They do more than provide a warm place to stay, staff help connect people who are homeless with services and stable housing."
"This funding extension will allow us to continue to support individuals with housing options as we work to complete construction on the balance of the 14 permanent, supportive housing sites in Vancouver."
Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver
"The HEAT shelters have played a pivotal role in helping people who are homeless off the streets, and connecting them with support services and new housing."
"Our partnership with the Province has enabled us to see a dramatic reduction in street homelessness in the City of Vancouver, and we are committed to working together to ensure that no one has to sleep outside at night."
Susan Tatoosh, Executive Director, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society-
"We are pleased that the Province of B.C. has recognized the important work the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society does at the HEAT shelter. Keeping the shelter spaces open will allow our staff, over 80 per cent of whom are Aboriginal, to continue to work with people to help them find housing options."
- Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $3.2 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 97,000 B.C. households will benefit from the government's housing programs and services.
- Last year, homeless outreach teams in Vancouver helped connect 840 homeless people to stable housing, income supports, and a range of health services.
- Since launching Housing Matters BC in 2006, the B.C. government has acquired 24 Single Room Occupancy Hotels in Vancouver to help protect the supply of affordable housing for low-income individuals. Around $60 million was invested to fully renovate a number of these SROs on the DTES and improve living conditions at all 24 provincially owned properties. The government recently announced a $143.3-million program to renovate another 13 of the hotels.
- The B.C. government also provided $1.6 million in 2012 to fund four temporary winter shelters with 160 spaces in the City of Vancouver. The shelters will operate until the end of May 2013.
- Investments in housing and supports from the Province, City and community partners have helped decrease the number of street homeless people in Vancouver by around 60 per cent since 2008.