British Columbia

Downtown Eastside Lion Hotel tenants need space heaters, says advocate

Mohammad Valayati is asking the public to donate space heaters and other cold-weather necessities for Lion Hotel residents, who have been without heat for months.

Mohammad Valayati is asking the public to donate space heaters and other cold-weather necessities

Mohammad Valayati says he's concerned about the residents of the Lion Hotel, some who have been without heat for months. (CBC)

A volunteer is asking the public to donate small space heaters and other cold-weather necessities for residents of Vancouver's Lion Hotel, some who have been without heat for months. 

"I see some people, they're sleeping with their jackets on. Their rooms are extremely cold," said Mohammad Valayatia volunteer with Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative

"We need around 40 heaters, plus some warm clothes and anything that can make the new year different for these people." 

Only one of two boilers working

Last month, city inspectors found several deficiencies in the building that houses 74 people on Powell Street. Among the problems, only one of two boilers that serves the building is actually working.

Residents of the Lion Hotel downtown SRO say they have been living without heat or electricity. (Tristan LeRudulier/CBC)

The building's owner was originally given until Christmas Eve to fix the hotel's electrical system or face legal action. That deadline has since been extended to the end of January.

The city said if the problems aren't fixed by then, it will do the repairs and bill the owner for them.

"I don't think it'll be fixed in the near future," said Valayati. "At this point we're just worried about the tenants. They're elderly here, they're people on pension, on disability, suffering from depression."

'It's not nice'

Residents say the lack of warmth has been particularly difficult with the cold weather. 

"It's pretty bad. I wake up some mornings and I can see my own breath. It's not nice," said resident Mark Enns. 

Mark Enns says he's been without heat for three out of the seven years he's lived at the Lion Hotel. (CBC )

Enns has been living at the Lion Hotel for seven years. He said three of those have been without heat. 

Valayati said the residents will have to coordinate when to turn the donated space heaters on. Tenants previously told CBC News small appliances easily blow the fuses on the building's old wiring system. ​

Abol Abdollahi, the building's owner, previously told CBC News he was doing his best to fix the problems, but had hired the wrong plumber.

With files from Kamil Karamali and Brenna Rose


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