Last year was was the “worst year” for homeless people in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) according to a new report. It was also the most expensive when it came to housing costs.
In its annual report, The Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) said that last year, 500 tenants were evicted from their homes “through no fault of their own,” only 21 new units of housing at welfare rate were opened, and average rents in privately owned and run hotels increased to an average of $687 a month.
“Average rents went up $139 a month in privately owned and run hotels,” said CCAP organizer Lama Mugabo. “Before this, the highest annual average rent increase CCAP found was $30 between 2015 and 2016.
This latest increase, she said, “means that people on welfare of the meager $710 a month only have $23 a month left to spend on food and everything else” if they are paying the average SRO rent.
“Last year we lost 173 rooms at the Balmoral, 78 at the Jubilee and 157 at Roddan Lodge,” said CCAP co-ordinator Lenee Son. “We lost the Balmoral because the city refused to enforce the Standards of Maintenance bylaw. Roddan Lodge was closed by the city. And the Jubilee Rooms was sold empty to a company. We also lost 157 rooms at the Quality Inn which housed a lot of DTES residents.”
While Son noted that most of the people who were evicted from these places managed to find a new home, “it meant that there was no housing for others who live on the street or in shelters.”