Province buys American Hotel for more affordable housing
VANCOUVER − The Province, through BC Housing, has purchased the 42-unit American Hotel in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for people who have been living in supportive housing and are ready to take the next step toward independent living.
“Housing is the foundation of peoples’ lives, and we’ve seen that our supportive housing model works in helping people transition to the next chapter in their story,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These homes will provide another safe, secure and supportive option for people as they move forward in their journey to independent living.”
The building will be managed by experienced BC Housing staff, who will provide residents with supports like daily living skills training, such as budgeting, nutrition management, meal preparation, medication management, house cleaning and other skills.
“Affordable housing with wraparound services is key to supporting people in the Downtown Eastside and neighbouring communities,” said Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. “These new 42 BC Housing units represent an opportunity to empower community members as they transition into independent living and build new pathways for themselves.”
Current tenants will be able to remain at the American and will have access to the supportive services, as needed. Over time, as existing tenants choose to leave and units become vacant, they will be occupied by new residents ready to leave supportive housing and live more independently.
In addition to purchasing the hotel at 928 Main St., the Province has also bought the adjacent vacant site at 938 Main St., for a total investment of $17.9 million through the Supportive Housing Fund. Over the long term, BC Housing plans to redevelop the American Hotel, as well as the adjacent vacant site, to create additional rental housing in the community. BC Housing will engage with the community on how these sites can be used to build a mix of homes for people in Vancouver and will go through the municipal rezoning process.
“Nothing is more critical for the City of Vancouver and our residents than tackling the housing affordability crisis, that's why seeing the Province of B.C. purchase The American Hotel to provide more affordable housing is welcome news,” said Kennedy Stewart, mayor, City of Vancouver. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to provide all residents with safe, affordable housing, especially for our most vulnerable neighbours, and the only way to do this is through strong partnerships between the City of Vancouver and the Government of B.C.”
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- The hotel was renovated in 2010 and has since operated as a single-room occupancy hotel.
- The Province is working in partnership to build close to 3,700 new affordable homes for people with a range of incomes in Vancouver:
- Housing for people with middle incomes: 135 homes
- Housing for people with low to moderate incomes, including families, seniors and Indigenous peoples: 2,518 homes
- Housing for women and children leaving violence: 73 homes
- Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness: 957 homes
For more information on how BC Housing is supporting British Columbians during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/COVID-19/
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Province building new homes to meet full spectrum of housing needs
The B.C. government is working in partnership with non-profits, municipalities, First Nations, Indigenous housing organizations and the private sector to build 114,000 affordable homes that cover the full spectrum of housing needs for British Columbians by 2028.
Budget 2018 included a $7-billion investment in the homes people need. As a result of that investment, more than 23,000 new homes are completed, under construction or in the approvals process for a range of people who are struggling to find a place to live, from people who are experiencing homelessness and seniors on fixed incomes, to middle-income families, students and individuals. As of Dec. 31, 2019, this includes:
Housing for people with middle incomes
The average annual household income qualifying for homes underway is under $99,000 per year:
- HousingHub: 2,802 homes
Housing for people with low to moderate incomes
This includes people residing in social housing (household incomes less than $65,000) as well as those living in affordable market rentals (households with annual incomes up to $74,000) – 9,837 homes:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (30% of units in each project): 1,565 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Affordable Rental Housing Program: 1,615 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Deepening Affordability Fund: 1,976 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Regional Housing First Program: 907 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
Social housing or subsidized rents:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (50% of units in each project): 2,609 rental homes for people with low incomes
- Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: 1,165 homes for Indigenous peoples, on- and off- reserve
Housing for people with very low incomes
Rental housing for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, or for people with very low incomes (includes supportive housing and shelter-rate housing) – 4,795 homes:
- Rapid Response to Homelessness: 2,012 homes with 24/7 support
- Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: 1,060 homes with 24/7 support
- Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund: 679 spaces of transition, second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (20% of units in each project): 1,044 homes
Housing for students – 5,584 homes:
- BC Student Housing Loan Program: 2,699 on-campus student housing units are under construction, in development or in the approvals process
- 2,885 student housing units are also completed, under construction or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions
Total: 23,018 homes
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing