Granville Street youth hostel to be permanently turned into housing for the homeless

Mar 31 2021, 2:52 pm

The recent conversion of Hostelling International’s (HI) Vancouver Central Hostel property into supportive housing for the homeless will be permanent instead of temporary.

Last year during the early months of the pandemic, 1025 Granville Street — within the Granville Entertainment District in downtown Vancouver — was leased by BC Housing, which took advantage of under-utilized accommodations properties across the province as a strategy in response to rising homelessness.

The permanency of the changes at the hostel was confirmed today by federal Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the minister of Families, Children, and Social Development. A total of $53.1 million in federal funding under the Rapid Housing Initiative will support the creation of up to 188 beds of supportive housing across three separate project sites in Vancouver, in partnership with BC Housing.

HI Vancouver Central Hostel is a 1910-built, five-storey building with 80 rooms, fitted with single beds, double beds, and bunk beds. The property was popular amongst young backpackers, and it previously had plans to reopen to guests in summer 2021.

Hussen says this HI property now offers 75 supportive housing units.


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Another property is BC Housing’s acquisition of the Ramada Limited Vancouver Downtown at 435 West Pender Street, which was previously reported by Daily Hive Urbanized. This six-storey property has 80 hotel rooms.

The third property in this particular mix is 103 East Hastings Street, known as The Lark and already operated by PHS Community Services and BC Housing. This three-storey, hostel-like shelter with 33 beds opened in the middle of 2020 to provide accommodations for individuals living in the closed Oppenheimer Park encampment. The Lark recently changed hands, presumptively to government, and it is immediately adjacent to a vacant lot, making it a likely candidate for a future affordable housing redevelopment.

The federal government’s previously announced $1-billion Rapid Housing Initiative includes $206 million to support the construction of 700 permanent affordable housing units in BC, with 55% of the units dedicated to Indigenous peoples and 17% to women and children.

Early this month, it was also announced that this federal funding was used by the City of Vancouver to acquire Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver Metro Hotel at 2075 Kingsway for its conversion into 65 supportive units. Following renovations, it will open for its repurpose in November 2021.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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