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The Highs and Lows of SROs : Rents and the rate of change in the Downtown Eastside : 2019-2020 COVID-Eye’zd… York, Fiona 2021-02

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THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF SROSRENTS AND THE RATE OF CHANGE IN THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDECARNEGIE COMMUNITY ACTION PROJECT’S2019-2020 COVID-EYE’ZD HOTEL SURVEY & HOUSING REPORTBY FIONA YORK“”He loved to talk, he loved his community and he loved writing,” [Jessica Hannon] said. “Hendrik was a fierce advocate about food security, social justice and nature. He cared so much and it was contagious. I will miss him so much and I know so many of us from the community will.Jessica Hannon, former executive director of Megaphone Magazine HENDRIK BUENE | MARCH 22, 1951 - DEC. 14, 2019Photo and text by permission from Megaphone Magazine.“”My children you each are my light, my life, my love. A light has lost its flame on this side of eternity but will burn brightly forever in the spirit world. Duncan your name, your love, your dedication is etched upon my heart.Erica GrantMy children you each are my light, my life, my love. A light has lost its flame on this side of eternity butwill burn brightly forever in the spirit world. Duncan your name, your love, yourdedication is etched upon my heart. It hurts that you’ve journey on but I know you’re walking with momand dad. You longed to know them. Your Ye’e Eric & your Gigi Jeanette are holding you till I see youagain. I know your brother Dallas Jeda Blue also met you at heaven’s door and the child you longed tohold is now in your arms. This thought is what will get me through. My Babyboi you brought so manyworlds together, touch d so many lives. *As Gran  was comforting me he told me “son’s helping prepareyour mansion Hun, making sure every single detail is exact — thank you babe, this is so like you”. -Erica GrantI miss him so much. Cant rememberthe last time we spoke but I miss his voiceso much. It broke my heart when my dadtold me.-Leonard Vroon Jr.In my mind it was just last week that wespoke on the phone. You were half drunkand alone saying you wanna come home.And damn lil bro that’s all i ever wanted.But you stood your ground in that city nomatter what it costed. A warrior on a pathand you stayed strong as you walked it.Heart of a Spartan, Young BabyBoi Martin.25 for life, Grant Boyz 4Ever. We weresuppose to blow up and share the shinetogether. Now I’m dying just to be able totalk to you again. Since the day you wereborn you were my fuckin best friend.News of your death keep replaying in myhead. I’m so sad and so pissed. I’ve triedto unclench my fists but then i’d lose mygrip. I just want my brother back, i don’tneed all this shit.I’d give away everything just to see youagain k.i.d. 25 for life and 4ever you’ll bemissed.- Darnell Albert Eric Grant’s tribute to ourbeloved Duncan Martin. In our heart 4eva!<3 <3I love & miss you Babyboi. I miss your voice, your laugh,your humour and most of all your hugs, care & love. Ireally need you son. I have not stopped crying…oh my GodDuncan Martin…I want to hold you son.- Erica Grant My condolences to you Erica and family on theheartbreaking loss of your son and beloved family. Myprayers go out to your son’s safe journey home andyourself and family.-Jacqueline Quewezance Tears falling now and wishing I could hug you right now,dear Erica. So much grief now so let it all out and yourcleansing tears will make you the strong woman of love &wisdom that you are, that you were always meant tobe in this world. We love you so much, dear Sister.-Karen Hertz3Photo and text by permission from Erica Grant.DUNCAN GRANT | AUGUST 28, 1994 - APRIL 7, 2020Written by: Fiona York with contributions from King-Mong ChanResearch by: Don Walchuk, Gunargie O’Sullivan, Gary Olver, Lauren BrownTranscripts by: Henry GuinnThe Ripple Effect of Woodwards by: Diane WoodThank you to Wendy Pedersen and SRO Collaborative for research included here.Thank you to the City of Vancouver DTES Planning Group for information about new developments.Thank you to Fiona York, Gunargie O’Sullivan and Erica Grant for photosThis report is dedicated to Hendrik Buene, champion of social justice, and Duncan Grant, warrior of the Downtown Eastside.The Carnegie Community Action Project is located on the occupied, unceded traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP)c/o Carnegie Centre, 401 Main Street, VancouverUnceded Coast Salish Territories, BC V6A 2T7www.carnegieaction.orgCCAP is a project of the board of the Carnegie Community Centre Association which has about 5,000 members, most of whom live in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver. CCAP works on housing, income and land use issues in the DTES so that the area can remain a community that centres on low income people. CCAP works with DTES residents in speaking out on their own behalf for the changes they would like to see in their neighbourhood.If you find any inaccuracies in this report please contact: info@carnegieaction.orgPrinted in Vancouver (Unceded Coast Salish Territories) February 2021 Cover artist: Alan SayersReport design: Wendee LangThank you to Vancity for supporting CCAP’s work.  Support for this project does not necessarily imply that funders endorse the findings or content of this report.THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF SROS2019-2020 COVID-EYE’ZD CCAP HOTEL SURVEY & HOUSING REPORTIN MEMORY OF HENDRIK BUENE & DUNCAN GRANT01 INTRODUCTION14 NEW DEVELOPMENTS04 YEAR IN REVIEW12 HOTEL UNITS LOST & AT RISK06 FROM REGENT TO RICHES20 REFERENCES AND NOTES02 SUMMARY / LOWLIGHTS10 RENTS19 APPENDICES11TOTAL NUMBER OF BUILDINGS CHECKED PER YEAR11 GENTRIFICATIONTABLE OF CONTENTS 16 RECOMMENDATIONS07HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS & SROS01The Hotel Report has been published every year since 2008 to measure the progress, loss,  and degradation of the Downtown Eastside’s privately-owned, privately managed Single Room Occupancy hotel stock. During that time, there have been some changes and minor improvements, but mostly a massive flight of affordable housing for the city’s most vulnerable low-income population while economic suffering compounded with the overdose crisis and multi-generational trauma to produce a homelessness and humanitarian emergency. Due to this year’s particular challenges and pandemic, this report comprises a longer than usual time frame, with updates from June 2019 through January 2021. The research is specific to privately-owned, privately managed hotels located within the Downtown Eastside. Once again, the data indicates an increase in average rents and decrease of overall affordable, available hotel units for the majority low-income Downtown Eastside population. All of this is against a backdrop of local and national political struggles around Indigenous land and water rights, police brutality and calls to defund the police, and a worldwide epidemic that triggered widespread community closures and overwhelming isolation but takes a fatality backseat to the ongoing devastation of the overdose crisis. Nothing short of a housing revolution is needed.   INTRODUCTION02SUMMARY /  LOWLIGHTSCCAP’s annual Hotel Survey and Housing report measures whether low income people can afford to remain living in their neighbourhood. With about 9,000 low income people in the community surviving on welfare and disability and about 4,000 on seniors’ pensions, most folks have only $375 to $480 a month for rent.This year CCAP found:• Average rents in privately owned and run hotels were a staggering $712 per month -- $49 per month more than last year, and $25 more per month than 2017, the next highest since CCAP began doing these reports 12 years ago. This average rent would absorb almost an entire social assistance check. A single person currently receives $760 a month on income assistance or $1,183 a month on disability (not including the temporary COVID top-up).• If the Metropole is included, at $1600, the average would be $740. Instead, the hotel’s 60 rooms — now marketed as micro-lofts — are marked by this report as “lost” due to gentrification and removed from the SRO stock. The Metropole is still listed as an SRO by the City of Vancouver, and this is the first year that CCAP has removed a building from the survey due to gentrification.1• The $712 average rent for 2019 is on a continuum of increases from 2008 when we first started doing the Hotel Report. Since “shelter rate” is still $375, an immediate 90% increase would be required for someone receiving social assistance to attain even the simplest, one-room, washroom-less residence in hotels that are often poorly maintained and run by slumlords.• About 1 in 18 people who live in the DTES are homeless. The 2020 Homelessness Count found 128 less homeless people than in 2019 — in a flawed point-in-time process that didn’t take into account COVID-19’s toll on guest access and shelter capacity. Vancouver City Council later estimated 750 unsheltered homeless people, up from 600 in 2019 and early 2020. Indigenous people continue to be vastly over-represented in the homelessness population, and seniors are a growing trend.2• Residents surviving on social assistance of $760 per month and paying the average SRO rent of $712 have just $48 left for food and everything else for a month. That is less than $12 per week for food and necessities. By comparison, the Market Basket Measure suggests that an individual living in BC needs $257 per week for non-rent expenses in order to have a modest, basic standard of living. This year there was an additional $300 per month top-up provided for much of 2020 due to COVID-19 -- but the total still falls far short of both the $2,000 03per month deemed necessary to live on for recipients of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Market Basket measure.3• The top 10 hotels with the fastest-increasing rents had an average rent increase of $240 per unit over last year — an astounding average increase per unit of 40%. Meanwhile, shelter rate amounts increased by 0% (see page 14 for most expensive hotels).• Nearly 40% (16/42) of hotels surveyed had an average rent of $750 or more this year — double the provincial shelter allowance of $375, which has remained the same for decades.• The top 15 most expensive hotels (with rents over $750, and including The Metropole at $1,600) rent at an average of $993 per unit.• The rate of change of new unaffordable housing (condos, market housing and social housing with rents above welfare shelter and pension rates) going forward into the foreseeable future with proposed and approved new DTES developments is 1374 unaffordable units to 669 affordable units, or about 2:1.• Racism and discrimination still thrive in SROs in the Downtown Eastside. In 2012, CCAP’s young Indigenous researcher was asked for references for an SRO. This year, the female Indigenous researcher was offered hourly rates for an SRO before she had a chance to ask for the monthly rent.  • Homeless RV dwellers are not immune to displacement. Around 100 RVs on the Raymur side of Strathcona Park were abruptly targeted by the City of Vancouver for eviction under the by-law regarding overnight parking of large vehicles — after ten or more years of residence on streets along the park. BC Housing also stated that RV dwellers would be evicted to “create space for services” at the tent city at the park, even without housing secured and despite provincial COVID guidelines discouraging displacement.”“Local governments can help support people experiencing homelessness to reduce health risks and to improve access to essential services, supplies and supports. This may include looking at any bylaws that require people experiencing homelessness to move or leave safe shelter, be that a park or vehicle. Clearing or moving encampments without providing shelter or housing immediately can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread and may lead to isolation, which also poses health and safety risks to vulnerable people4. 04• Regent Hotel and Balmoral purchased by the city. The milestone decision by Vancouver City Council in summer 2019 to expropriate the notorious hotels was applauded by many -- but legal proceedings dragged on while over 300 units of affordable housing remained unreplenished. Eventually, the city opted to spend a reported $11 million wresting the controversial units from their slumlords, but the housing vacuum is yet to be filled. • 100 Block community proposal developed over a series of townhall meetings and community consultations. Community members came together to call for safe, dignified housing on the 100 Block, including at the old Balmoral and Regent sites, with full independent suites at shelter rate and an end to slumlord entitlement.   • The LAP turned five. The Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan turned five years old in 2019. Original DTES LAP participants gathered to review and make recommendations which were reflected in a memo to city council in October 2020. • Chinatown gentrification continues. The pandemic forced a number of low-income serving businesses in Chinatown to close. These closures not only meant the loss of cultural assets that served ethnic-specific goods for the Chinese community; it also allows for their replacement by businesses that cater to people with higher incomes. Most concerning, these closures may pave the way for entire buildings to be redeveloped to market housing, which would further drive gentrification and the rents in SROs higher.• Mental Health Report: CCAP releases a follow up to 2018’s “No Pill for this Ill” which describes a community vision for mental health and housing. The 2019 report surveys housing providers and how they actually meet the community vision for housing and mental health.5YEAR IN REVIEW05• St. Paul’s Hospital and Flats Arterial The City of Vancouver convened the elaborate Flats Arterial Community Panel over 2018-2019 to recommend an arterial road from downtown to Clark Drive after the Georgia and Dunsmuir Street viaducts are removed and the new St. Paul’s Hospital opens near Main and Terminal — and then ignored the panel’s recommendation in early 2020. Still a concern are the community impacts of this major new development, its gentrifying effects and new market housing in the area. Councillor Jean Swanson brought a motion to city hall to flag gentrification of the surrounding areas. • “Home Street Home”  Homelessness decreased by 5% in early 2020 — before COVID guest and shelter restrictions swelled homelessness to a new all-time high. The City of Vancouver 2020 homeless count found 2,095 people homeless, and those who identify as Indigenous continue to be vastly overrepresented in homelessness, at nearly 40% — despite making up 2.2 per cent of the general population of Vancouver. Conservative post-COVID estimates by Vancouver City Council suggest a 25% increase in unsheltered homeless.6• Displacement and lack of access to public space. The largest tent city in the country emerged in Strathcona Park after Oppenheimer Park closed in May 2020, followed by the Port Authority-ordered injunction against a six-week long tent city in CRAB Park parking lot. At its peak, Strathcona Park tent city provided shelter to up to 500 residents, and continues to shelter those displaced daily by cyclical temporary and inadequate housing models, street sweeps, and COVID-era housing policies.• The broken promise of 58 Breaking ground for 58 West Hastings is finally slated for February 2021. After 13 years of community mobilization and former mayor Gregor Robinson’s famous promise to create housing that is 100% affordable to those on social assistance or pension; the building is a disappointing “social mix” of 50% shelter/pension rate units and 50% HILS* — “affordable” only for those in the $55,500-67,500/year income bracket. *Housing Income Limits.06FROM REGENT TO RICHESJ A C K  G AT E S ’  S T O R YJack Gates is a former resident at the Regent Hotel who initiated a class action lawsuit against the building’s owners in 2016, citing unsafe living conditions and lack of maintenance. In 2018, the BC Court of Appeal ruled against the proposed lawsuit moving forward — but the case brought attention to the deplorable state of the notorious Sahota-owned SROs. Jack is now comfortably housed, is employed part-time and is a housing advocate for others in the Downtown Eastside. Jack told his story at a presentation hosted by CCAP during the 2019 Heart of the City Festival:  “I didn’t really have any place to go, so I ended up staying at the Regent. After I filled out the rental form and brought it back he showed me the room and there were four king size mattresses full of bed bugs. Just looking at them you could see the bugs crawling all around. I asked if this would be cleaned up before I get back, and he said, ‘yep, it’ll be done.’ I came back with the cheques, paid my rent, and went up to my room and the beds were still there so I ended up cashing my support cheque and he told me to stay across the street at the Balmoral and rent a room for $45 a night. I stayed there for two nights and that was most of my support cheque. But eventually after about two nights I ended up pulling the beds out of the room, cleaning up, making sure there were no bugs in there, and they said they would supply a bed for me, which they never did. I ended up sleeping in the winter at the Regent on the floor with just a jacket for a headrest. Then I started reaching out to the community and getting jackets, clothes, all the resources I never knew about. Then I found someone who bought me a bed. I was still dabbling in drugs but really wanting to quit after forty years. Every single person in that building deserved better. I quit drugs. I fought every day. It was quite a while before I got enough evidence to take them to the Residential Tenancy Branch [RTB]. There was no heat, no hot water. I lived there for over a year. The main thing they got them on was heat and hot water, and we took that as a victory. We won in the RTB. The landlord was told to decrease my rent until all this was fixed. They awarded me $3,500 for compensation. They did come in and fix the hot water in the building, but to satisfy the RTB they just ran a hot water hose from the basement directly to my sink. Really, so nobody else was getting JACK GATES07HOUSING,  HOMELESSNESS & SROSH O M E L E S S  I N  VA N C O U V E RIn November 2020, a panel discussion called “Homeless in Vancouver” aired on the radio show Kla How Ya on Co-op Radio as part of the Heart of the City Festival. The show was broadcast live from the Overdose Prevention Site at 58 E Hastings (now relocated to 360 Columbia St.) and produced and hosted by Gunargie O’Sullivan. Panelists spoke about homelessness and the state of SROs in the Downtown Eastside. The following is an excerpt from that panel.Gunargie: We’re in this mess of a pandemic, and rent increases are not allowed during the COVID crises, and other policies and procedures have been put in place to further protect tenants, yet there is still a high rate of homelessness, is there not?Fiona York, CCAP: SROs are spiraling to market prices and there’s less and less availability. A tent city resident said that in the past, he would experience homelessness for a couple of months and he would go to a temp agency and get employed for a while and access an SRO, whereas that became increasingly difficult with the loss of so many SRO’s like the Balmoral and the Regent. It made a big dent in the SRO stock. He was a former tenant at the Balmoral, the Yale, and other SROs. So it became harder and harder, and his last time in homelessness was because it was not possible — the rents were too high to work for a short while to get into that kind of housing. The loss of SROs in general, being bought by new owners, and rents going up across hot water. It was terrible, and they never did fix the heater. And my rent never did get raised again. ”“My hope, even though we’ve got a long road to go, is that the full renovation of those buildings, or tear them down and fill the corners with sanctuary and love for renters.A lawyer called me and I spoke to him. He said I’ve been watching your news interviews and I think we really have a case here. We can start a class-action lawsuit. The first ever in BC. So we built up enough evidence, we took them there and we basically lost. We appealed it but we ended up going to the highest court and we lost there too. I was disappointed, but when I heard they were going to expropriate the buildings, that changed everything inside me again. The best thing we could ask for was for them to lose because the last thirty years they had been taking money from people on social assistance, with addictions. So I’m certainly glad the city decided to take the two buildings from the Sahotas. My hope, even though we’ve got a long road to go, is that the full renovation of those buildings, or tear them down and fill the corners with sanctuary and love for renters.”08H O U S I N G ,  H O M E L E S S N E S S  A N D  S R O S  ( C O N T D . )the board, or losing those buildings from the SRO stock. There’s still a lot of people who are being pushed out and evicted and rents are just too high. Gunargie: Why don’t we hand the mic over to Nicole and get some thoughts. What are the obstacles?Nicole Baxter (Right to Remain and Tenant Overdose Response Organizers): Well, the obstacles are these privately owned SRO’s being bought up and you get these grandfather tenants basically, at a certain rent rate, and as soon as they find new owners, they find a new reason to evict these people. They do a quick slap of paint and a quick new floor and they jack the rent up. It becomes totally unaffordable. Unfortunately that’s a big obstacle and problem. Gunargie: I’d like to introduce Gary Olver. Gary was asked to visit SROs to collect data.Gary Olver (Hotel Report researcher): We went in and met the managers and some of the people working there. On some occasions we got to walk the halls and see some of the conditions people live in. In one of the richest cities in the world this should not happen. I think the Vancouver city councillors should sit down and view and look over the policies for SROs. Some of the SROs here in Vancouver you can go to and nobody answers their door, it seems that no one lives there. You look up into the windows and there’s bedsheets over the windows. People are living in squalor. I don’t think that’s right in a country like Canada. I really don’t think that it’s appropriate for communities to live that way. The federal government should be changing the culture. If someone lives in a clean environment they’re more likely to do greater, better things in their lives. But the SROs become pretty much the last stop before the street. In doing this survey, I also have come across people that live on the street, and they actually prefer living on the street because an SRO is quite a dangerous place. Some people prefer to actually sleep in a doorway than to go to an SRO because of the conditions in some of them. Some of the hotels, I think they should really look at those hotels, they should be renovated and brought up to a livable standard. I think that’s important. Some of these SRO’s should be completely dismantled and restarted from fresh, so everyone has a shower in their unit. Some of the SROs Gunargie and I went to that were “newly renovated” -- they call them a microunit. They take the old SRO room and they put a shower and a loft bed and kitchenette in it, and it’s a fully functional little room. They call it a microunit instead of an SRO. That was my experience.*Transcribed and edited for length and accuracy.09”“I would love to express my frustrations. I’m actually living in Kelowna now. At the time, there was an agency in the courthouse and I went for help. A lady looked me up and down and said, ‘there’s obviously people who need more help than you.’ Very disheartening. I hate being around those demons, so it’s all for the best. The Lippman Group7 bought the space first and offered us $1,000 if we accepted the first month to move, $500 after that. Then they made us uncomfortable so people just wanted to leave on their own. They sold the building, the new ownership was eager to get his older tenants out because we were paying less. So they just forced people out; they weren’t that bad, but we knew their intentions. I used to take time off everytime they wanted to do an inspection, you know like the very invasive inspections. Now I understand the problem with the big capitalists: they buy everything up and they have no regard for peoples’ life, just profit.Fiona: This is the story from someone living in an RV of his experience in an SRO:“The Ripple Effect of Woodwards” by Diane Wood.  Created in 2010 but still relevant today.10RENTSMost hotels have rooms that rent at different rents within the building. CCAP does not have access to the owners’ books. Instead CCAP surveyors use the “mystery shopper” method. Investigators posing as prospective tenants ask managers and desk clerks questions about rents and vacancies in each hotel. We complement the information we get from managers with information available from tenants. CCAP checked only the hotels that are privately owned and privately managed. For the Hotel Report, CCAP has conservatively grouped hotels by the lowest rent in the rent range. This means that it is likely that hundreds of people actually pay higher rents than it appears by looking at most of our data. For example, in some cases CCAP has classified a hotel as having rents that begin at $450 even though we know some rooms in the building rent for $600 or more.This also means that there might be longer term tenants who pay a lower rent than reflected by our data.The American Hotel was purchased by BC Housing in June 2019 and has been removed from our survey because it no longer fits the definition of “privately-owned, privately-managed”. The building was gentrified by the previous owner, with rents as high as $950 — which would place it on the “Top Ten Most Expensive Hotels” list if it was included.The Metropole was removed from the average rents calculation, but was included in calculations for the top ten hotels with the fastest-increasing rents and Top 15 Most Expensive Hotels.Average lowest rent and welfare remaining after rent is paid2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 20190100200300400500600700800$398$212$187$165 $158$141 $125$95$62$23$97$48average lowest rent in 2019average lowest rent$423$445 $452$469$495$517$548$687$648$712welfare remaining after rent is paid11TOTAL NUMBER OF BUILDINGS CHECKED PER YEARThis year, it was harder than ever to collect data — landlords and building staff were reluctant to let in or speak to visitors. For 2019, CCAP checked 42 privately owned and run hotels for rent and other information,  with 2003 units. There are 2,589 units in the 71 hotels that we tried to get information from. So we succeeded in getting information from hotels with 77% of the privately-owned, privately-managed SRO rooms in the DTES.Table A Hotel sample information 2013 — 2019Sample Information 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019Number of hotels checked 81 79 85 84 84 73 71Number of hotels that provided rent information 64 68 67 68 68 66 42Number of rooms in hotels that provided rent information3071 3004 3156 3170 2919 2569 2003GENTRIFICATIONThe Top 15 Most Expensive Hotels (with rents over $750 and including The Metropole at $1600) rent at an average of $1,003 per building and $993 per unit.Those with rents over $750 are listed in Table B.Hotel 2019 Rent ($)Astoria 800Shamrock 800Burns Block 1450-1550Lotus 1125-1350Keefer Lodge 110071-77 E Hastings 1000Station 850Pender Place 925Hotel 2019 Rent ($)New Columbia 800-1600Golden Crown 1200-1400Georgia Manor 1000Alexander Court 800-1400Cobalt 800Chinese Freemasons 800Metropole 60 1600Table B Hotels with rents greater than $75012HOTEL UNITS LOST & AT RISKTable C Hotels Lost and GainedHotel Name Status Number of UnitsCozy Corner Recently reopened 7Creekside RoomsRezoning and adding market units and reducing SRO units from 24 to 19 -5Metropole Lost due to gentrification -60Stanley Empty -80Shaldon Empty   -55Total 193The Metropole’s 60 rooms — now marketed as micro-lofts — are marked by this report as “lost” due to gentrification and removed from the SRO stock. The American Hotel was purchased by BC Housing and Aoki House/Ross House was purchased by the City of Vancouver. Neither purchase results in a net gain of units in either building, but may mean that rents are stabilized over time. After several years of uncertainty, Cozy Corner reopened under a new owner with 7 units and rents around $500.13Table D Housing Units at Risk8 Hotel Name Status Number of UnitsArlington New owner in 2019; rents increase as units become available 30Arno New owner in 2019; uncertain about new rents 34Cobalt Hotel At risk due to new St. Pauls’ development 98Ivanhoe At risk due to new St. Paul’s development 98Keefer Cabins Some units have increased from $380 to $1110/month  12Pacific Rooms For sale 34The Pender For sale 23 Persepolis Being renovated; rents increased 26Shamrock Hotel Recently sold 26Silver Avalon Hotel Recently sold 86 Total 467For the first time, we are including an “At Risk” section to reflect the changing demographics and ownership of many SROs. This is information available at the time of the report to the best of our knowledge.14NEW DEVELOPMENTSDevelopment Address Development TypeDeveloper/Applicant CondosMarket RentalSH Units Above WRSH Units at WRTotal Units1102-1138 E Georgia St / 1134 E Georgia StMixed use residentialEkistics Architecture, on behalf of CH (East Georgia) GP Inc27 0 6 4 37436 E Hastings Mixed use: retail at grade, residential aboveWilson Chang Architect 0 8 9 5 22835-837 E Hastings StMixed use: senior's social housingTerra Housing Consultants Ltd., on behalf of Lee’s Benevolent Association of Canada0 0 26 13 39545 E Cordova Unclear. This project is on hold. 0 0 13 7 20138 Main St Mixed use residential Anhart 0 28 28 14 70128 - 138 E Cordova StMixed use: social housing, social service center, supported residential, and emergency shelterSalvation Army 0 0 30 136 16652-92 E Hastings StMixed Use: Healing Centre and Food Centre on the ground floor, Long House gathering spaceAboriginal Land Trust Society, and BC Housing0 0 58 53 1111220 - 1298 E Hastings (& 560 Raymur)560 Raymur (proposed 59 strata-titled housing units) is tied to this application. 1220-1298 East Hastings is the 'consolidated social housing requirement' for this application.Onni Group 211 0 55 0 2661015 E HastingsMixed use: residential- market and non-market housing, transitional housing, 80 bed shelter and associated sevices, and social entreprise spaceLow Hammond Rowe Architects Inc0 53 85 25 163Table E DTES developments announced, proposed, approved, or under construction,    2019-202015Development Address Development TypeDeveloper/Applicant CondosMarket RentalSH Units Above WRSH Units at WRTotal Units728 - 796 Main StMixed use with commercial at gradeStudio One Architecture Inc. on behalf of Bonnis Development Main Inc99 0 19 0 118528 Powell Street 0 0 48 66 114711 Alexander StreetMixed use: retail/restaurant at grade, light manufacturing and office space abovePort Living 0 0 0 0 095 West HastingsMixed use: commecial at grade, residential aboveHolborn Group 0 132 0 0 132Blood Alley RedevelopmentPublic space redesign connected to Stanley/New Fountain Development0 0 0 0 0Stanley/New FountainWestbank Project Corporation and BC Housing0 62 0 80 142320 E Hastings Social housing and social service center NSDA Architects 0 0 70 35 10558 West HastingsVancouver Chinatown Foundation0 0 113 117 230946- 950 Main St (POSSE 950 Main St) 0 0 17 9 26616 E Cordova St NSDA Architects 0 0 42 21 63124 Dunlevy Ave (Roddan Lodge) 0 0 73 140 21333 W Cordova St 0 62 0 80 142Totals 337 345 692 805 2179SH: Social housing WR:  Welfare rateNote:  This is the list updated to the best of our ability, with information provided by the City of Vancouver.16RECOMMENDATIONS Municipal Government1. Strengthen bylaws and bylaw enforcement, to prevent losing more SROs due to inhabitability and disrepair.2. Use City powers to impose non profit management on hotels with outstanding Standards of Maintenance violations, and ensure that tenants have the protection of the Residential Tenancy Act.3. Buy or lease SRO hotels, especially near the location of the new St. Paul’s Hospital at the South end of the DTES, to prevent them from gentrifying and pushing out low income residents4. Designate enough land for 6,000 units of social housing in the Downtown Eastside to show senior levels of government that the City is serious about solving the housing crisis.5. Restore minimum unit size to 320 sq. ft so people have a home that feels permanent.6. Do not provide incentives to profit or non-profit SRO owners to upgrade their units unless rents in upgraded units are guaranteed to not exceed the welfare/pension rate.7. Amend the SRA bylaw to define SRO hotel “conversion” to mean raising rents above welfare and pension level shelter rates. Include zero-eviction conditions in all renovation and building permits.8. Stop market housing development in the DTES to keep property values low and preserved for social housing until SRO hotels have been replaced with safe, secure, self-contained, resident-controlled, and low income social housing and until no one now or in the future needs to sleep on the streets or in shelters.9. Support an SRO resident organizer structure to educate, support and liaise between tenants and bylaw and Residential Tenancy Branch.10. Embrace a women-centred philosophy in hotels with policies and practices that ensure women’s access and safety in all spaces, especially for Indigenous women and women of colour. 11. Revisit Downtown Eastside zoning regulations to ensure that they require new developments to include more social housing that low income people can afford.12. Change the City’s definition of social housing so that low income people are not excluded from any social housing.13. Adopt and implement the People’s Vision for Chinatown.14. Increase investment in both capital and operating costs for shelter-rate housing, including through the Empty Homes tax, borrowing, reducing the annual police budget, and taxing homes worth over $5,000,000. Invest specifically in permanent new Indigenous housing, and lobby all levels of government to do the same. Promote family reunification by providing family-sized, culturally-safe units in new permanent shelter-rate and social housing. 1715. Aggressively lobby the provincial government to raise welfare to the Federal government’s Market Basket Measure (about $1,675 a month for a single person in 2017) and implement rent control so that any social assistance increase does not go directly to landlords.  16. Recognize the right to housing at the local government level and making it a  “rights-based city” like the City of Montreal.9Provincial Government17. Raise welfare to the Federal government’s Market Basket Measure (about $1,675 a month for a single person in 2017).18. Raise disability to at least $300 more than welfare.19. Immediately increase the shelter component of social assistance to at least $525 a month. 20. Raise minimum wage to at least $15 an hour with regular increases after that up to a Living Wage (about $19.50/hour in Vancouver).21. Reform the Residential Tenancy Act to provide effective rent control by the rental unit rather than the tenant. This will stop giving landlords an incentive to evict low income people and end renovictions. The Province should also implement a rent freeze and end the annual allowable rent increase (2.5% in 2019).22. Ensure that residents of all non profit social housing, including SRO rooms, supportive housing projects and emergency shelters, have full tenant rights under the Residential Tenancy Act.23. Provide funds to build 10,000 units a year of low income social housing throughout the province. Replace 1,000 SRO units with self-contained, resident controlled social housing every year for five years in the DTES.24. Amend the BC Human Rights Code and Residential Tenancy Act to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of social condition including class, poverty and drug use.25. Ensure that immigration status is not a barrier to social housing.26. Provide funds to Chinese societies in the Downtown Eastside that have housing units and are financially unable to upgrade their building to remain habitable on the condition that the rents in upgraded units are guaranteed to not exceed the welfare/pension rate.27. Ensure that women and children fleeing violence have priority for decent social housing. 28. Increase funding for permanent new Indigenous housing. Promote family reunification by providing family-sized, culturally-safe units in new permanent shelter-rate and social housing. 29. Immediately build another 6,000 units of modular housing across BC and make a plan to transition those living in modular housing into permanent social housing. 30. Move from “supportive housing” models to tenant- and peer-controlled housing and housing that responds to resident-identified mental health needs.RECOMMENDATIONS 18RECOMMENDATIONS 31. Stop requiring social housing and shelter/pension-rate housing to be self-sustaining. The concept of self-sufficiency and austerity around affordable housing needs to change otherwise we will not be able to get people out of poverty.32. Increase access to RTB services and provide proactive, door-to-door education and information about renters’ rights and early warning signs of renovictions. Provide support for a penalty-free “rent strike” or withholding rents for units that have poor maintenance, and landlords not doing anything to improve it. Have a real Rental Taskforce, from the point of view of renters, not landlords.33. Update the Poverty Reduction Plan to prevent, not “reduce”, dislocation and homelessness.34.  Recognize the right to housing at the provincial government level and declare BC a “rights-based” province.Federal government35. Provide funds to build low income social housing in the DTES to replace 1,000 SRO units per year for the next five years.36. Provide funds to Chinese societies in the Downtown Eastside that have housing units and are financially unable to upgrade their building to remain habitable on the condition that the rents in upgraded units are guaranteed to not exceed the welfare/pension rate.37. Rather than just stating in the National Housing Strategy a goal of reducing chronic homelessness by 50% over the next decade, provide funds to build enough social housing to end homelessness now.38. Return to Housing First as the key strategy of the National Homelessness Strategy and implement the Indigenous Definition of Homelessness.1039. Increase federal funding for urban Indigenous and on-reserve housing. 40. Take concrete steps toward meeting Canada’s international obligation to respect the right to adequate housing and to respect the spirit of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.41. Implement the rights-based National Protocol for Homeless Encampments in Canada by Leilani Farha, former UN Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing.19APPENDICES Appendix 1: Which hotels were surveyed?CCAP started with the City’s 2013 SRO list for the DTES. We deleted privately-owned buildings run by non-profits because they are generally cleaner and cheaper. Even though we did not survey these buildings, CCAP recognizes that these buildings are not secure units of low income housing because their leases with non profits can expire. We added the Argyle, Burns Block, and 71-77 W. Hastings because they are all privately run SROs. We deleted the Winters Hotel because it is now run by a non profit. In most cases the information was provided by a manager or desk clerk but sometimes we had to rely on a tenant because managers or desk clerks were not available after several visits to survey.Appendix 2: MethodologyCCAP’s annual Hotel Survey and Housing report measures whether low income people can afford to remain living in their neighbourhood. For the hotel survey, CCAP surveyors went door-to-door to privately-owned and privately-managed hotels within the DTES boundaries. CCAP approached each hotel like a prospective tenant looking for a room. The CCAP surveyor usually spoke to the desk clerk or manager and asked about rent levels, vacancies, daily/weekly rentals, and student only rentals. The surveyor looked to see if there was a sign asking for guests to pay fees to visit residents and asked if there were any vacant rooms that were not being rented. CCAP (unlike the City) does not have the resources or the authority to actually inspect buildings, so this survey does not include maintenance aspects of the hotels. This information is as good as what was told to CCAP surveyors by desk clerks, managers, and in some cases, tenants, as CCAP has no way of looking at hotel records. CCAP also analyzed City and provincial statistics about new housing being built and provincially owned hotels.This year, researchers had a more difficult time accessing buildings due to COVID-19 restrictions and guest access policies, Building managers were reluctant to allow entry and provide information. Appendix 3: Why it’s important for rents to be lower than $375 a monthAbout 9,000 DTES residents rely on welfare and disability income.  Since 2007, $375 a month is all single people have to pay for their rent, utilities and phone. If people on income assistance have to pay more than $375, this money must come out of their support allowance of $335, leaving them with not enough money to eat and pay for other necessities. The DTES also has about 4,000 seniors. Many of them rely on a basic pension of only about $1,460 a month. For these seniors, rents at or below $480 a month (30% of their income) are considered affordable.20REFERENCES AND NOTES1 Source Source: Sources: and  and email from BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, May 28, 20194 Sources: October 19, 2020 email from Billy Dong, Engineering Parking branch and notice from BC Housing dated December 30, 20205 Source: and Source: Developer Steven Lippman’s group Living Balance8 Letter and email by Wendy Pedersen, SRO Collaborative, January 2020) Source: Source: A R N E G I E  C O M M U N I T Y  A C T I O N  P R O J E C T U N C E D E D  C O A S T  S A L I S H  T E R R I T O R I E S 


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