Only 30% of units at welfare rate in City’s new Aboriginal Social Housing developments

The City of Vancouver is trying to get two new housing developments happening in the Downtown Eastside (DTES), according to a report adopted at City Council on Jan 19th. The two proposed developments have been packaged as part of the city’s commitment to being a City of Reconciliation with Indigenous people. The need for aboriginal social social housing is dire and about one-third of homeless people in Metro Vancouver, or about 700 people, are Indigenous.

The city plans to build one building on city-owned land at 946/950 Main St. This building could be done in 3 years and would have 30 units, but only 10 of the units would be at the shelter rate ($375) for low-income and homeless Indigenous people. The other development is similar and would be on city-owned land 1015 E. Hastings near and across the street from Raycam. It would include health services provided by Vancouver Coastal Health, the Central shelter (moved over from the current one on National Ave.) and 175-220 units of housing. However, only one third or 58-73 units would be at welfare rate for homeless people. This project will take 5 years to build.

So, over 5 years, the city’s contribution to Aboriginal Housing would be a maximum of 83 units, or about 20 units a year, to deal with an Aboriginal Homelessness Crisis of about 700 a year, going by last years homeless count. This doesn’t include the many Indigenous people who live in inadequate SRO’s or people who will be pushed out of SROs by gentrification.