Compassionate Solutions for our Social Challenges

My last communiqué was about actions our government is taking to protect the environment. Today I want to update you on our measures to develop compassionate solutions to our social challenges, which is another one of our Five Goals for a Better Vancouver.

Continuing reading for updates on the following items:

You can look forward to more announcements from us on our efforts to battle homelessness and reduce crime. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing your feedback and ideas.


Sam Sullivan

Downtown Vancouver Community Court

Earlier today, I joined Councillor Kim Capri, BC Attorney General Wally Oppal and Solicitor General John Les for a tour of the proposed Downtown Vancouver Community Court.

The site is currently under construction and is scheduled to open this Spring. The Community Court will bring together justice, health and social services to enhance our response to crime. It will:

  • Improve justice system efficiencies through adoption of innovative case management practices
  • Integrate justice, health and social services to hold offenders accountable while producing better outcomes for offenders by responding to their needs and circumstances
  • Contribute to a liveable community and affording new opportunities for community participation in the criminal justice system

The Court will house staff from Vancouver Coastal Health, Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance, Vancouver Police Department, as well as Community Court Crown Counsel, Community Court Defence Counsel, and Community Corrections. There will be designated judges and court staff.

New Housing Announcements

Last Friday, I was honoured to attend another significant housing announcement in Vancouver with Premier Campbell and Housing Minister Rich Coleman at Vancouver’s Lookout Emergency Aid Shelter.

Mayor Sam Sullivan with Premier Campbell at Vancouver's Lookout Emergency Aid Shelter

The provincial government announced new and expanded measures to help break the cycle of homelessness with an added $41 million. The measures include:

  • New funding for emergency shelters so they can be open 24 hours a day/seven days a week
  • Expansion of homeless outreach services
  • More rent supplement units
  • Pre-funded development costs to ensure city-owned sites will be ready for the start of construction of new supporting housing within a year

On behalf of the City of Vancouver, I want to thank Premier Campbell, Minister Coleman and the entire provincial government for their commitment to social and supportive housing.

Project Civil City Update

Councillor Kim Capri and I introduced Project Civil City in November 2006 to identify specific steps and actions to respond to the issues of homelessness and street disorder in our community.

The plan establishes goals to eliminate homelessness, the open drug market and aggressive panhandling. Last Friday’s housing announcement will help achieve these goals.

In the 11 months since Project Civil City was established, we have delivered on many initiatives that support the plan’s objectives, including:

  • Commitments for more than 1,500 new supportive housing units – in partnership with the province
  • Plan to establishing dumpster free areas downtown
  • New rules in partnership with Granville Street Merchants & Vancouver Police Department to reduce public disorder in Vancouver’s entertainment district
  • Petitioned federal government to maintain supervised injection site and supported the goals and objectives of innovative drug substitution treatment research trials
  • Petitioned provincial government to reconsider its decision to downsize mental services at Riverview Intensive Care facility
  • By-law and ticketing improvements to the Vancouver Charter
  • Established Dobell /Fairbairn process to leverage more private investment in social housing
  • Enhanced tenant support services in the Downtown Eastside
  • Encouraged province to increase social assistance payments
  • More buses and taxis to enhance late night transportation options in entertainment district
  • Implementation of municipal ticketing information pilot project & improved collection procedures
  • Reinstated Vancouver Police Department Beach Patrol

Housing Construction – Status Report

The following is a status report on social housing projects and initiatives underway in Vancouver. This report does not include the announcements made by Premier Campbell and Minister Coleman last week.

Status of Projects

Social Housing Projects Completed in 2007:



New Units

Converted Units

Grace Mansion

596 East Hastings

85 units

Helping Spirit Lodge

1475 Kingsway

36 units

Southview Heights

3131 East 58th

57 units

Triage on Fraser

5616 Fraser St.

30 units

Jackson Ave. Hsg. Co-op

230 Jackson Ave.

23 units

The Vivian

512 Powell St.

24 units


6 projects/255 units

57 units

198 units

Social Housing Projects Under Construction:

Kindred Place

1321 Richards St.

87 units

Beulah Gardens II

3355 East 5th

89 units

St Vincents

4875 Heather

60 units

Triage on Hastings

65 East Hastings

92 units

Icelandic Residence

2020 Harrison Dr.

77 units

Woodwards Singles

131 W. Hastings

125 units

Woodwards Families

122 W. Hastings

75 units

Passlin Hotel

768 Richards St.

46 units

Pennsylvania Hotel

412 Carrall St.

44 units


9 Projects/695 units

651 units

44 units

Social Housing Projects Funded and in Development:

Portland on Main

980 Main St.

80 units

Small Suite Demonstration

337 West Pender

120 units

Olympic Village, Parcel 2

151 West First Ave.

88 units

Olympic Village, Parcel 5

85 West First Ave.

99 units

Olympic Village, Parcel 9

1685 Ontario St.

69 units

Union Gospel Mission

601 East Hastings

133 beds, rooms and units

Carl Rooms

335 Princess Ave.

47 rooms

Marble Arch Hotel

518 Richards St.

145 rooms

Orange Hall

329/41 Gore Ave.

27 units

Orwell Hotel

456 East Hastings

55 rooms

Park Hotel

429/33 West Pender

56 rooms

Molson/Roosevelt Hotel

166 East Hastings

45 rooms

Savoy Hotel

258/60 East Hastings

28 rooms

St. Helens Hotel

1161 Granville St.

98 rooms

The Rice Block

404 Hawks Ave.

44 rooms

Walton Hotel

261/5 East Hastings

51 rooms

Lu’ma/Aboriginal Mothers

2019 Dundas St.

10 units


Downtown Eastside

30 units

Circle of Eagles

1470 East Broadway

17 rooms

Lu’ma/Aboriginal Families


20 units


20 Projects/1262 beds, rooms, units

649 units

613 rooms

Grand Total

35 Projects/ 2212 beds, rooms, units

1357 units

855 rooms

Call for SRO Operators

In August BC Housing issued a call for Expressions of Interest from non-profit and/or private operators to take on the management of the 10 SRO hotels that the Province bought, the Drake Hotel that the City bought, and also for the development of the small suite demonstration project on the City-owned site at 343 West Pender. The responses were received in late September and are currently being reviewed.

The Province’s acquisition of the 595 SRO rooms satisfies the recommendation of the Vancouver Homelessness Funding Model that Council approved in principle on March, 2007. Staff will be reporting to Council regarding the results of the call for Expressions of Interest and seeking Council approval to contribute $5,000,000 to the Province (BC Housing).