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B.C. adds three more Vancouver hotels to housing stock for homeless

VANCOUVER — The B.C. government has purchased three more hotels to help house the homeless in Vancouver.

VANCOUVER — The B.C. government has purchased three more hotels to help house the homeless in Vancouver. 

Housing Minister David Eby says in a news release the properties will help the province meet its goal of providing dignified indoor living spaces for everyone currently camping in Vancouver's Strathcona Park by the end of the month. 

The province says it is spending about $75.5 million to buy the Patricia Hotel and two properties on Main Street. 

The buildings have a total of 249 units and about 114 are expected to be offered soon to people experiencing homelessness. 

BC Housing will work with current long-term tenants at the Patricia Hotel to ensure they have appropriate accommodation as the building transitions to supportive housing, while tenants at the other two hotels will not be displaced. 

This comes after a federal announcement of the purchase of three other properties through the Rapid Housing Initiative, including the Ramada Hotel on West Pender Street.  

Together, all six buildings will provide about 340 permanent supportive homes, the B.C. government says. 

"Street homelessness and encampments aren't working for anyone in Vancouver — not for people who have been living outside over the winter in unsafe conditions without access to supports, and not for their neighbours who live nearby," Eby says in a statement. 

Initially, the Patricia Hotel will provide about 100 permanent homes with wraparound supports and a non-profit housing operator will be on-site to manage the building and provide services. 

Daily meals, access to life-skills training, recovery services, employment assistance, counselling and physical and mental health resources will be available to residents, the government says. 

BC Housing is reaching out to non-profit housing providers to explore support services for the two buildings on Main Street. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2021.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press