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Making ‘SRO’s Better: A Solution to Homelessness?

Part of a six-part series on ending the homeless crisis in BC.

Submitted by Tyee Staff, 14 Feb 2017

 

A mention of single-room occupancy hotels, also known as SROs, can inspire thoughts of cockroaches, bed bugs and slumlords to some. However, not all of them are poorly managed. And for low-income people, SRO units are an important option on a short list of shelter choices.

In a recent story, reporter Stefania Steccia investigated how SROs are vanishing due to “renovictions” and gentrification, as well as what cities can doing to save them.

Some solutions are featured in the video above. San Francisco, for example, buys or leases SROs and contracts them out to non-profits to manage. In Vancouver, critics have urged the city to turn SROs with bad track records on maintenance to non-profits to manage, and to offer renovation subsidies to landlords willing to keep rents at welfare rates.

“[They’re] a pretty inadequate form of housing, but there is nothing else,” said Wendy Pedersen. “We can’t afford to let them go.”

The story is part of a six-part series on solutions to homelessness, made possible by a partnership between Megaphone Magazine and The Tyee’s Housing Fix. Megaphone is a magazine sold by homeless and low-income vendors on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria.

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