Vancouver city council has approved a $1-million grant for interim below-market housing and support services at the Bosman Hotel at 1060 Howe Street.
The NPA’s George Affleck was the only councillor to vote against the motion. He argued there should have been more consultation about the proposal. NPA councillor Elizabeth Ball was absent for the vote.
The Bosman Hotel, located in the heart of the downtown core, has offered below-market rental units to homeless people and individuals with a mental illness since 2009. That program was funded through a federal experiment called At Home/Chez Soi for which money dried up in 2014.
The $1 million council approved today (February 18) comes in the form of a grant for the Community Builders Group, which will use the money to cover 23 percent of what it will cost to renovate and run the site for the next five years.
The Bosman consists of 100 rooms. According to the report approved by council, 24 of those units will rent at $600, 30 at $575, another 30 at $475, 10 at $375, and six rooms will be used by St. Paul’s Hospital, which is located just two blocks away.
Services will include one full-time support worker, one live-in caretaker, another support worker who will focus on life skills and medical support, plus daily janitorial services including maintenance. Mental-health support services will also be provided “as needed”.
The six rooms allotted to St. Paul’s will be used to house “individuals who are ready to be discharged from hospital, but need medical and other supports including further assistance to find permanent housing”.
Affleck and fellow NPA councillor Melissa De Genova tried to get a vote on the grant deferred until early March. They claimed there had not been sufficient public consultation on the matter. Green councillor Adrian Carr briefly expressed support for that idea but eventually sided with Vision in a 7-2 vote against a delay.
Vision councillors maintained ample consultation occurred via discussions around the city's Housing and Homelessness Strategy. Councillor Kerry Jang suggested a deferral could put lives at risk. He argued mental-health services are needed now and said some people struggling with a mental illness could not wait two weeks.