The City of Vancouver will open 70 new shelter spaces at two temporary shelter locations to provide homeless people at the Downtown Eastside’s Oppenheimer Park with access to warm indoor housing.
This consists of opening 40 new shelter spaces at 900 Pacific Street near Burrard Street, a City-owned property that was the space of Kettle of Fish restaurant until its closure in 2010. Another 30 shelter spaces will be made available at Union Gospel Mission.
Approximately 200 people are camping every night at Oppenheimer Park. The homeless and activist camp began in July when about a dozen people protested the city’s unaffordable housing options, but it grew exponentially when the City issued an eviction notice to the occupiers.
Since then, the park has been unavailable for general public use and it also led to the last minute relocation of this past summer’s Powell Street Festival, which is normally held at the park every year.
Since the protest began, the City claims it has relocated 40 campers to existing temporary shelters. It says that this is part of a long-term strategy of providing the homeless population with support before they are given real housing options.
Over the past six years, the City has provided permanent housing to about 500 people who previously used homeless shelters.
Three new housing developments will open later this fall: 2465 Fraser Street (near Broadway), 111 Princess Avenue and 951 Boundary Road (the Historic Taylor Manor). Altogether, all three housing projects will provide nearly 300 additional units of social housing.
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