Vancouver receives $4.9M to install and maintain washrooms for vulnerable residents

Feb 9 2021, 4:25 pm

Vancouver has received $4.9 million in federal funding, which will be used to support the city’s most marginalized residents.

The financial support comes from Lu’ma Native Housing Society and is on behalf of Service Canada’s Reaching Home Program.

A statement from the City of Vancouver explains that most of the $4.9 million will be used to install two new washroom trailers and maintain three existing washroom trailers. The three trailers were opened to ensure residents have access to basic hygiene services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first new washroom trailer will be located at 1115 Hornby Street in downtown Vancouver, next to the Murray Hotel. The area near Murray Hotel has been a problematic location for a number of years. The City says the location was selected in response to “community feedback about the critical need for additional facilities” in the neighbourhood.

The trailer will be equipped with five stalls, free menstrual products, and needle collection containers. It will also be staffed and monitored by Atira Propery Management Inc. to increase safety. It is expected to be installed in mid-February and the location for the second washroom trailer will be identified in the near future.

“Opening a safe, accessible washroom trailer will not only provide dignity to people who have been forced to use alleys and cover from doorways, it will help make them feel safer, and reduce the impact restricted services have had on the neighbourhood,” said Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira.

The three existing washroom trailers that will benefit from the funding are located at the WISH Drop-In (334 Alexander Street), Overdose Prevention Society (62 E Hastings Street), and Kingsway Charge of the Nazarene (998 E 19th Avenue).

Additionally, the following four washrooms will benefit from extended hours.

  • Gathering Place – 998 E 19th Avenue (9 am to 11:45 pm)
  • David Lam Park – 1300 Pacific Boulevard (6 am to 11 pm)
  • English Bay Beach – 1790 Beach Avenue (6 am to 11 pm)
  • Park Sunset Beach – 1204 Beach Avenue (6 am to 11 pm)

Some of the funding — $1.8 million, specifically — will also go towards the lease and renovation costs of a new 60-bed shelter.

The City of Vancouver says it is currently waiting for confirmation of provincial operating funding of this location as well as several other options to assist residents that are experiencing homelessness.