Frances Bula header image 2

New round of shelter openings in Vancouver

November 30th, 2009 · 7 Comments

The little bird from city hall (aka news release)  just told me that Mayor Gregor Robertson and Housing Minister Rich Coleman will be opening a new shelter for women in the Downtown Eastside this morning.

This is the first of what you can expect to be several announcements along with line, as the city negotiates for emergency-shelter space in various buildings around the city — at least one expected to be in a residential area in the Metro Core. You can expect that there will be a LOT more consultation with the neighbours this time around.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Joe Just Joe

    Wonder, if it’s the 525 Abbott St site, they fenced it off a couple of weeks ago but haven’t seen any progress since then. On a plus the parkinglot site on W Pender now has a backhoe on site and it has started breaking up the pavement.

  • Joseph Jones

    FB: “A residential area in the Metro Core.”

    I speculate that this bold move will be taken in a demonstrably amenity-deficient East Vancouver neighborhood that has already served as a density dump for the City over the past few decades.

  • Wilf Reimer

    The women’s shelter is at 625 Powell Street, the former home of Sincerity Wholesale, a produce distributor. This shelter is just around the corner from the new 10 story low-barrier housing development which is slated to go up at Princess and Alexander Street. The shelter is also just across the street from the old Drake Hotel which is being used temporarily for housing, but apparently that property is slated for another 100 units of low-barrier housing. All of this is near, Triage, UGM, Mission Possible, the Living Room and Oppenheimer Park.

  • If the city is going to continue to create more shelters, I would suggest staff consider a variation on the traditional shelter offered by the Toronto housing corporation in the mid 90’s. Known as Street City, this intriguing idea was the brainchild of Bob Yamashita, a former architecture school classmate of mine.

    The concept was to create very small but separate and secure spaces within an older warehouse building. The spaces, constructed from wood studs, plywood and drywall opened up into an internal ‘street’.

    While one might fear it would all burn down, it didn’t, and to the best of my knowledge, the space worked until people were found alternative accommodation in purpose built projects and scattered apartments around the city.

    I considered pursuing this idea last year, but knew that the community agencies were opposed to more shelters and therefore decided that relocatable modular housing was a better solution.

    However, under the current circumstances, I think this idea should now be explored. It would result in much better shelter accommodation than an open dormitory, with no privacy and no security for the residents.

    You can read more about the idea at

  • Joe Just Joe

    Wow just noticed the title says Shelter and not SROs, I blame my lack of coffee this morning for the blunder.
    The idea of self-contained cubicles in old warehouses is interesting, it would even be possible to stack units like some pubic storage buildings. Although I’m sure the optics of building a shelter using public storage as a blueprint would be tough to swallow.

  • JJJ, the sad irony is that the standard of accommodation that would be offered by the recently constructed high quality mini-storage buildings, such as those along Powell street, would be significantly higher than that offered on the benches of First United or the other dormitories.

    But I won’t go there since I can see it now… “Geller advocates mini-storage warehousing of homeless people”

  • Bill Lee

    And all this is good preparation for when the Force 9 quake hits and we have to house the homeless from the ‘better-off’ districts too, for a year or two while rebuilding.
    What did Kobe do after their quake for re-housing temporarily?