Province buys American Hotel for more affordable housing

THE Province, through BC Housing, has purchased the 42-unit American Hotel in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for people who have been living in supportive housing and are ready to take the next step toward independent living.

“Housing is the foundation of peoples’ lives, and we’ve seen that our supportive housing model works in helping people transition to the next chapter in their story,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, on Monday. “These homes will provide another safe, secure and supportive option for people as they move forward in their journey to independent living.”

The building will be managed by experienced BC Housing staff, who will provide residents with supports like daily living skills training, such as budgeting, nutrition management, meal preparation, medication management, house cleaning and other skills.

“Affordable housing with wraparound services is key to supporting people in the Downtown Eastside and neighbouring communities,” said Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. “These new 42 BC Housing units represent an opportunity to empower community members as they transition into independent living and build new pathways for themselves.”

Current tenants will be able to remain at the American and will have access to the supportive services, as needed. Over time, as existing tenants choose to leave and units become vacant, they will be occupied by new residents ready to leave supportive housing and live more independently.

In addition to purchasing the hotel at 928 Main Street, the Province has also bought the adjacent vacant site at 938 Main Street, for a total investment of $17.9 million through the Supportive Housing Fund. Over the long term, BC Housing plans to redevelop the American Hotel, as well as the adjacent vacant site, to create additional rental housing in the community. BC Housing will engage with the community on how these sites can be used to build a mix of homes for people in Vancouver and will go through the municipal rezoning process.

“Nothing is more critical for the City of Vancouver and our residents than tackling the housing affordability crisis, that’s why seeing the Province of B.C. purchase the American Hotel to provide more affordable housing is welcome news,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to provide all residents with safe, affordable housing, especially for our most vulnerable neighbours, and the only way to do this is through strong partnerships between the City of Vancouver and the Government of B.C.”

Quick Facts:

* The hotel was renovated in 2010 and has since operated as a single-room occupancy hotel.

* The Province is working in partnership to build close to 3,700 new affordable homes for people with a range of incomes in Vancouver:
– Housing for people with middle incomes: 135 homes

– Housing for people with low to moderate incomes, including families, seniors and Indigenous peoples: 2,518 homes

– Housing for women and children leaving violence: 73 homes

– Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness: 957 homes