Fewer affordable hotel rooms for rent in Downtown Eastside, says Carnegie Community Action Project report

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Fewer privately owned hotel rooms in the Downtown Eastside are affordable for low-income renters, says a new report from the Carnegie Community Action Project.

The proportion of such rooms with rental rates that would fit the budget of a person on income assistance has dropped to 12 percent this year from 29 percent last year, according to the housing study.

Released today (September 21), the annual report shows the community has 12 hotels in which all rooms can be rented for no more than $375, a decrease from 19 hotels last year.

Although the report acknowledges the creation of new units for low-income residents, the resident-advocacy group notes many units have closed or been subject to rent increases.

Among its recommendations, the report calls on the City of Vancouver to purchase 50 sites in the Downtown Eastside for social housing over the next decade.

The Carnegie Community Action Project surveyed 90 hotels that are privately owned or operated for the 2010 report.

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welldoneson
How about if you can't afford to live in downtown Vancouver, you move elsewhere?
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RealityCheck
Whoever came up with the idea that these shabby, privately owned SRO hotels are a form of social housing is an idiot! They should be torn down, redeveloped and the developer fees going towards social housing away from the downtown core.
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Evidence Based
There is a huge need for social housing. I've seen this city improve in the last 10 to 15 years because of actions like the Province buying up these places and giving them to be run by charities like Salvation Army, Raincity, St James and PHS. It would be better for the people to have proper housing, after all these SRO's can at times be substandard but we still have a lot of people to try and move off the street.
As far as the whole "if you can't afford it don't live here argument", that's easier said than done. Firstly, creating housing projects for the addicted or mentally ill in any other neighborhood (which has a predominantly residential family character) is bound to get some community opposition. I think it would be very politically difficult in Vancouver to spread the social housing around. Secondly, there's a certain population that is entrenched in panhandling and buying drugs downtown. You can try and move them but the results might be even more undesirable than the present situation. I was living in the West End around ten years ago when the police did a big crack down on dtes drug trade and it just spread around everywhere else.

The fact is, the DTES and other locations downtown are the logical place for the Province to invest in social housing that will get people off the streets. We need to put more resources to get results in improving health outcomes and turning people's lives around. We need way more detox and addiction services. All this stuff costs money and we may not be able to accomplish all these things at once because there's only so much money to go around. But starting by buying up hotels and preserving them as social housing makes sense in a lot of ways and politically it's just more practical and feasible.
We might think we'd save money on real estate but you aren't taking into account the various operating costs, especially the fact that a lot of these people require frequent trips to hospitals and clinics, psychiatrist offices, detox services, etc. or the fact that all the services that cater to them already exist in downtown and the downtown eastside.
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