The old Biltmore Hotel on the intersection of Kingsway and East 12th Avenue is about to see a major switch in its use.
Later this month, the Biltmore building will be begin its six-year leased term of housing the homeless and those who are most vulnerable to being homeless. The conversion into temporary housing was first announced a year ago and will be funded by B.C. Housing. Mavericks Pub and the Biltmore Cabaret at the building’s ground floors will continue to operate.
RainCity Housing and Support Society will operate the facility and will provide residents with one meal daily, personal care items, clothing, medical attention and resources.
Following government policies for mixed social housing occupancy, 50 per cent of the building’s 95 guest rooms will be occupied by “street or sheltered homeless” with the remaining 30 per cent dedicated for residents from single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels and 20 per cent for singles at risk of being homeless.
$1.7-million has been spent by B.C. Housing to support the complex’s social housing operational costs. The housing agency has also spent $535,000 on safety renovations in addition to the City of Vancouver’s capital budget of $1.1-million.
However, the project has its critics given that it is less than two blocks away from Nightingale Elementary School. The Courier reports that the school’s parents are concerned about their children’s safety, and school district officials will attempt to placate concerns with security sweeps of the school grounds at the start of each weekday to remove any needles and condoms.
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