Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Campbell and Robertson promise up to 200 shelter beds as chilly weather hits

Premier Gordon Campbell and Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson promised today to open as many as 200 temporary shelter beds “virtually immediately” to protect the city’s homeless from recent sub-zero temperatures.

“With the cold snap right now, time is of the essence,” Robertson told reporters in a joint announcement with the premier and the Streetohome Foundation. “That’s why it’s so important that we take action and make opportunities indoors for people who are currently living on our streets.”

Today’s promise comes with a $1.5 million price tag that will be split equally between the province, the city of Vancouver and private sector funding sources. The temporary beds will be open for the next 90 days.

Robertson said the city is eyeing three locations for the new units. The Stanley-New Fountain Hotel near Cordova and Carrall will offer 30 beds and should be open by the end of the week.

Next to start operating will most likely be a location at 1442 Howe Street near the north end of the Granville Street bridge where the mayor said city staff are doing final inspections and assessments. Shelter beds on 240 Northern Street could take “a little bit longer” to become available, he added.

One reporter noted that shelters such as the Union Gospel Mission have reported unused beds over the last few days and questioned why the city and the province don’t put more resources into permanent housing.

Campbell replied that many homeless people are turned off by requirements such as bans on pets that discourage shelter use. Robertson said the new units announced today will have “minimal or no barriers” to encourage widespread use.

He added that Vancouver has over 800 individuals on the street, according to counts last spring. The mayor stressed that the new units are only the first step in the fight against homelessness.

“It’s not the solution,” Robertson said. “But it will help many people to get into the housing continuum over these next couple of months.”

Premier Campbell credited Robertson with pushing today’s initiative forward and announced that 455 new shelter units in Vancouver will become available over the coming weeks.

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for the Hook.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus