The BC government announced this week that it has purchased the Comfort Inn Hotel in Victoria for $18.5 million in an effort to provide more housing in the city.
“Everyone deserves to have safe, stable housing they can afford, and this site offers great potential to deliver a mix of permanent housing to meet the needs of people in Victoria,” said BC Housing Minister Selina Robinson.
This purchase, she added, “will further add to the significant efforts underway with community and local government partners in the Capital Regional District to tackle the housing crisis and build the homes people need.”
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The province said the longterm use of the site will be determined through engagement with the community. In the short term, the building – located at 3020 Blanshard Street – will provide approximately 65 rooms of temporary accommodations with wraparound supports for people currently living in encampments on the Pandora Avenue corridor and Topaz Park.
“Often, people experiencing homelessness are not able to access the support and services they need,” said Minister of Poverty Reduction. “The purchase of the Comfort Inn, combined with medical and social supports, will help people make the transition from the street to permanent housing.”
The building will be operated through a partnership between BC Housing and Our Place Society, and people will have access to services, such as meals, health-care services, addictions treatment and harm reduction, storage for personal belongings and other supports, including 24/7 staffing to provide security to residents of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood.
“This is a substantial investment in our community and will provide housing for those who need it most,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “This site has significant redevelopment potential to provide a range of affordable housing in the long term.”
The province said that from April 25 to May 13, a total of 208 people from encampments on Pandora Avenue and in Topaz Park moved into safe, temporary accommodations with supports to protect their health and safety.