Mayor Sam Sullivan today applauded provincial budget investments in social housing that will play a key role in helping Vancouver meet the Project Civil City target of reducing homelessness by more than 50% by 2010.
â€œThis is the largest investment in social housing in recent history,â€ said Mayor Sullivan. â€œClearly, the concerns I raised in Victoria related to homelessness and affordable housing have been heard and acted upon.â€
The provincial budget announcement included funding for just over 1,000 shelter, transitional and permanent housing units for people suffering from mental illness, addictions or who are otherwise vulnerable. As an interim measure, an additional $27 million was provided to support 300 year-round shelter beds for the next three years.
â€œBy increasing the monthly social assistance rates by $100 per month, the provincial government has made it more economically viable to keep privately run low-income housing units open,â€ said Mayor Sullivan. â€œThis was a key recommendation from our Homeless Action Plan and it will serve to reduce the risk that low-income people may be forced onto the street.â€
â€œI am confident a significant amount of this new funding will go toward the development of the 12 sites the City has purchased and has earmarked for social housing,â€ the Mayor added. â€œI will urge Council to move quickly to support the biggest investment in social housing in recent history.â€
Over the past year the City has invested just under $100 million toward the development of 250 social housing units and additional affordable housing at Southeast False Creek. Council also invested $4.8 million in the purchase of the Pennsylvania Hotel which resulted in 44 more social housing units.
Recently, the City of Vancouver invested $2 million to purchase Helping Spirit Lodge, a 36-unit residential apartment building at Kingsway and Dumfries which will be converted into affordable housing units for Aboriginal persons at risk of homelessness, in partnership with BC Housing.
â€œThere should also be a role for the private sector and individuals to assist with our homeless situation,â€ said Mayor Sullivan. â€œI am hopeful that the Dobell/Fairburn recommendations coming to Council in the coming weeks will provide even more options for the City to increase social housing investments.â€
Housing and Homelessness
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