B.C. to provide 330 new homes for people living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

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VANCOUVER — British Columbia says it will be providing 330 new homes for people living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside by the end of June.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says there are currently about 117 people living on East Hastings Street, and 70 of them have expressed a desire for housing.

The new initiative will include two temporary supportive housing projects and a mix of renovated single room occupancy and other supportive housing units, which will open "on a rolling basis" through April, May and June.

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim says there has been an uptick in safety concerns for those living in the Downtown Eastside, citing an increase in sexual and violent assaults as well as fires, adding the new housing will provide safety to the city's most vulnerable residents.

The Vancouver Fire Rescue Service issued an order to remove tents and structures along East Hastings Street last July, which Kahlon says compelled governments and service providers to develop a co-ordinated response plan to help people get off the streets and safely into homes.

He credits the response plan for getting more than 90 people who were living on the street into housing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2023.

The Canadian Press