Vancouver's Quality Inn homeless plan worries neighbours

The city of Vancouver is hosting a community meeting to address concerns from downtown residents about a plan to turn the old Quality Inn on Howe Street into transitional housing for the homeless.

Community meeting to be held on city strategy to house displaced Oppenheimer campers

CBC's Bal Brach reports from outside a standing-room-only public information meeting in Vancouver 3:31
The City of Vancouver is hosting a community meeting Wednesday night to address concerns from downtown residents about a plan to turn the Quality Inn building into transitional housing for the homeless.

The city of Vancouver announced it's turning the old Quality Inn hotel on 1335 Howe Street, near the Granville Street bridge, into transitional housing for the homeless for at least two years.

"There is a lot of opposition to this," Veronica Madore, who lives a few blocks away from the old hotel on 1335 Howe Street, told The Early Edition

"The city will see that at the meeting."

Madore has banded together with other concerned residents to form a group called Save Our Neighbourhood.

She says there are several groups similar to hers that have formed, all concerned about a potential increase in noise, drugs and crime in the area. 

City looking to house Oppenheimer campers

Earlier this month the city dismantled a tent city at Oppenheimer Park and promised to find shelter for the dozens of homeless people who had been camping there for three months.

The encampment at Oppenheimer Park was dismantled earlier this month. Now the city of Vancouver is looking for housing options for the displaced campers. (Charlotte Landry/CBC)

It created a temporary shelter at the old Kettle of Fish restaurant on 900 Pacific Blvd., which is set to stay open until April, and announced plans to lease the old Quality Inn hotel building for two years for interim housing for the homeless.

But some residents in the area say there should have been more public consultation and they are worried about how this will change their neighbourhood.

"Every Saturday now I witness a shouting match going on outside the new shelter on Burrard Street," Madore said.

Building managers reassure residents

The City of Vancouver has chosen the Community Builders Foundation to manage the 157-room transitional housing project at the Quality Inn.

"We don't anticipate any disruptions in the community," said Julie Roberts, who works for the Foundation. 

Roberts says her organization makes an effort to ensure the buildings it runs are safe.

Community Builders Foundation will manage the 157-room transitional housing project at the old Quality Inn. (Shiral Tobin)

At the Quality Inn, they will have two 24-hour staff members on site every day and security cameras at the building's entrance.

The foundation will also have a tenant advisory committee made up of building residents to encourage responsible behaviour and help create a sense of community.

"We really try to empower tenants as much as possible," Roberts said.

The foundation plans on creating a community advisory group as well, made up of nearby residents who can provide ongoing feedback on how to keep the neighbourhood peaceful.

"We invite community members to be a part of ongoing discussions of what we're doing to address any concerns," Roberts said.

The community meeting takes place Wednesday, Oct. 29 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 1110 Howe Street. Representatives from the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health, the Vancouver Police Department and the Community Builders Foundation will be there to answer questions from the public.

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