Strathcona Park Encampment Updates

Here are some updates for the community about BC Housing’s engagement and support activity at Strathcona Park in Vancouver.

Updated: December 30, 2020

BC Housing and the City of Vancouver are working with our partners to bring on new shelter spaces for people experiencing homelessness, including those living in encampments such as Strathcona. We are working as quickly as possible to activate shelter space and anticipate opening these spaces in the new year.

While work continues to bring these new spaces online, BC Housing and the City of Vancouver and are working together to provide temporary essential services to meet the basic needs of people living in Strathcona Park while we work to bring people indoors in the new year.

Over the next few days, staff will be preparing for the installation of a temporary warming tent, washroom, and shower facilities at Strathcona Park. To create the space for these services, we are working with people who have RVs and vehicles parked on Raymur Avenue to move them to other locations nearby.

The Province and the City have been working with our partners to create the affordable and supportive housing we know are desperately needed. Since 2017, we have opened more than 1,000 new supportive homes in Vancouver. The City of Vancouver and BC Housing have signed a memorandum of understanding for 450 additional supportive homes.  

Despite the progress over the past few years, we also know that much more work remains to be done. The pandemic has compounded the challenges faced by people in our community who are experiencing homelessness, and these challenges are particularly difficult in the winter months.

Neighbours and residents who have questions that are not covered below can contact us at communityrelations@bchousing.org.

Reporters and media should email media@bchousing.org.
 

Why are RVs and other vehicles being moved from stalls beside Strathcona Park?

  • Vehicles are being moved so that BC Housing and the City of Vancouver can establish a temporary warming tent and sanitary facilities, including showers and washrooms, to help ensure the health and safety of campers until they are able to move into indoor shelter space.

Where are vehicles being moved to?

  • Vehicle residents are being asked to move their vehicles to any available, legal parking stall. A map has been provided so that drivers know which parts of Raymur Avenue will be inaccessible to parking while installation and operation of the temporary warming tent and hygiene sanitary facilities are in place.
  • Those vehicles that are not moved will be towed to a nearby parking spot within walking distance from their originally occupied stall, either further down Raymur Ave or on a neighbouring street.
  • City of Vancouver staff will work with complying vehicle owners to ensure that their vehicle is moved to a nearby location of their choosing wherever possible.

When are vehicles being moved?

  • People are being asked to move their vehicles prior to Tuesday, January 5.

What about vehicles that are no longer running and cannot be moved?

  • The City of Vancouver is providing towing services to help move vehicles that are no longer running or that are unable to move without assistance.  

What happens to vehicles that are not moved before Jan. 5? 

  • Unmoved vehicles will be towed to a nearby location near Raymur Avenue by the City of Vancouver.

What will happen to RV dwellers personal items that are not moved from street parking stalls prior to Jan. 5?

  • RV dwellers were notified on Dec. 30 and will be notified again January 2 that they should move any items they wish to keep either to a secondary location or into their vehicle prior to Jan. 5. Those items that remain on the street will be disposed of.

When will the temporary warming tent, washroom and showers be operational?

  • The temporary warming tent, washroom and showers will be installed and operational in mid-January.

Who is the site operator for these facilities?

  • The temporary warming tent, washroom and showers will be operated by Atira Women’s Resource Society. Atira has a long history of advocacy and outreach within the DTES, including the operation of housing developments for women and children throughout Metro Vancouver, providing educational support and running homelessness prevention and housing outreach programming in both Vancouver and Surrey.

Who is providing funding for the warming tent, washroom and showers?

  • Funding for these facilities is being provided by BC Housing.

How are risks of COVID-19 spread being addressed?

  • BC Housing, Vancouver Coastal Health and Atira are working to ensure everyone’s safety, including the use of PPE, regular cleaning of frequent touch surfaces, social distancing measures, and regular health checks.
  • VCH will review the health and safety plan developed by Atira and BC Housing prior to operations beginning to ensure all necessary precautions are being taken.

What  is available for people living in Strathcona?

  • BC Housing, the City of Vancouver and our partners are working to increase shelter space that will allow Strathcona campers to stay safe and warm into the winter season and beyond.
  • We are working as quickly as possible to activate new shelter spaces and are currently anticipating that spaces will be operational in the new year.
  • We are also moving forward to secure shelter operators who have significant experience working with vulnerable populations in Vancouver. We are currently anticipating that both sites will be operational in the new year.

When will Strathcona Park be fully decamped?

  • BC Housing and our community partners will not forcibly remove anyone from Strathcona Park at this time. We are working closely with all parties involved to find solutions for people who want to transition to housing.
  • We are working as quickly as possible to activate additional indoor spaces and anticipate these will be operational in the new year.
  • We are also moving forward to secure shelter operators who have significant experience working with vulnerable populations in Vancouver.
  • The temporary warming tent, washroom and showers will be installed and operational in mid-January.