Unique partnership formed at government SRO hotels


October 19, 2008

VANCOUVER – The Province is partnering with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the non-profit operators of the 17 government-owned single room occupancy (SRO) hotels in Vancouver to enhance communications and clearly establish procedures to ensure safe, secure and supportive housing.

“When we purchased these hotels, we were determined to do things differently in the Downtown Eastside so that people have better opportunities to improve their lives and the neighbourhood,” said Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman. “For Vancouver citizens who need our support, this partnership will help make sure they’re living in safe accommodation.”

Called “Partners in Action,” the partnership ensures the government-owned SRO hotels provide an environment that is as safe and comfortable as possible for all residents. Because SRO operators will have an ongoing working relationship with beat officers, the partners anticipate there will be fewer unnecessary 9-1-1 calls from the hotels and a reduction in potential criminal activity. To achieve this, six actions are being taken under the “Partners in Action” protocol.

“These actions include assigning specific beat officers to specific SRO hotels, where we are building one-on-one relationships with the non-profit operators and residents,” said Vancouver Police Chief Constable Jim Chu. “The government purchase of these hotels and the management of these properties by experienced non-profit societies is a big step forward for the Downtown Eastside, and VPD believes this new partnership will lead to significant improvements.”

Other elements of the protocol include:

  • A ‘Partners in Action’ decal will be prominently displayed at participating SRO hotels to help deter drug and criminal activities;
  • A VPD brochure will provide the non-profit operators with an outline of both their and VPD’s rights, authorities and roles with respect to law enforcement activities. For example, if the police need to investigate at an SRO, operators will know what police can legally request to do;
  • The Province has provided a description of each SRO hotel to VPD, including contact information and an overview of the support services available to residents, such as mental health counselling or life skills training. VPD will forward this information to E-comm so that officers being deployed to these residences are aware of any potential special needs of residents;
  • VPD has provided direct contact information to the non-profit operators to enhance communication between operators and police when dealing with more complex, long-term tenant issues; and
  • VPD is developing a plan to have new recruits receive a half-day of training at the SROs beginning in 2009.

“Improving the lives of people who live in our SROs and making sure they have safe, secure housing is the top priority for all the non-profit societies,” said Mark Smith, executive director of RainCity Housing and Support Society. “We think this particular partnership, with an open relationship between the parties involved, will allow residents to pursue opportunities in a safer environment, free from unwanted influences and pressures.”

The Partners in Action protocol is the latest measure to improve the lives of residents at the government-owned SRO hotel since the first purchases were announced in April 2007. Renovations are now underway with estimated completion dates ranging over the next year, depending on the extent of work required at each hotel.

Budget 2008 increased the amount the Province invests in affordable housing and shelters to more than $400 million a year, more than three times as much as in 2001.

 

"PARTNERS IN ACTION" PROTOCOL

The Partners in Action protocol is being established at 17 government-owned single room occupancy hotels in Vancouver. As part of the protocol, a decal will be displayed prominently at the participating SRO hotels to demonstrate commitment to the protocol and to help deter drug and criminal activities. 

Hotel

Address

Number of Rooms

Non-profit Operator

Arco Hotel

81-83 W. Pender St.

63

Property temporarily being managed by Atira Property Management Inc. until non-profit operator is identified

Carl Rooms

355 Princess St.

47

Union Gospel (Heatley) Housing Society

Gastown Hotel

110 Water St.

95

Property temporarily being managed by Atira Property Management Inc. until non-profit operator is identified

Marble Arch

518 Richards St.

149

City Centre Care Society

Marr Hotel

401 Powell St.

28

Atira Women’s Resource Society

Molson’s Bank Building/Roosevelt Hotel

166 E. Hastings St.

45

PHS Community Services Society

Orange Hall

329-341 Gore Ave.

27

SUCCESS

Orwell Hotel

465 E. Hastings

55

Vancouver Native Housing Society

Park Hotel

429-433
W. Pender St.

55

City Centre Care Society

Pender Hotel

31 W. Pender St.

40

Vancouver Native Housing Society

Rainier Hotel

307-315 Carrall St.

46

PHS Community Services Society

Rice Block

404 Hawks St.

42

Atira Women’s Resource Society

Savoy Hotel

258-260 E. Hastings St.

26

MPA Society

Shaldon Hotel

52-60
E. Hastings St.

55

RainCity Housing and Support Society

Tamura House

398 Powell St.

110

Lookout Emergency Aid Society

St. Helen’s Hotel

1161-1163
Granville St.

96

Coast Foundation Society

Walton Hotel

261-265 E. Hastings St.

51

Lookout Emergency Aid Society

Superintendent Warren Lemcke
North Command
Vancouver Police Department
604 717-2768

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