Global News has learned that BC Housing will lead a coordinated plan to move people out of the controversial tent city into the Downtown Eastside, starting Saturday and over the next few weeks, and into safer housing.
Who is responsible for Oppenheimer Park? Activists say yes, and park council does not disagree
Social Development Minister Shane Simpson is expected to officially announce at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday as part of the province’s broader plan to support homeless people in Vancouver and Victoria.
BC Housing will gradually help transfer people and their property to what is described as moderate speed and will work with each person to meet their individual needs.
The City of Vancouver and BC Housing have identified eight locations, including six hotels, while the province continues to guarantee spaces for the homeless.
On the beat with the VPD at Oppenheimer Park
Mayor Kennedy Stewart said it was only a “matter of time” before the virus was reported in the neighborhood, particularly with many of its residents suffering from underlying health problems and not having no space in which to isolate themselves.
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City staff set up makeshift shelters in two community centers, hired commercial cleaners for high-priority single-occupancy hotels, and added bathrooms and shelters to the area.
But under the weight of the pandemic, the mayor said the city simply could not afford to build the necessary housing.
City of Vancouver Actions to Help Vulnerable Residents of DTES
“Right now, conditions are absolutely deplorable for anyone on the street or living in a camp or park,” said Jeremy Hunka, spokesperson for the Union Gospel Mission.
“We know it will be difficult and complicated (and) complex to move large numbers of people into safe spaces quickly, but if this pandemic is as threatening as we are told – and it is – absolutely have to take massive action. “
All of the facilities used to house residents of Oppenheimer Park will include enveloping services to support vulnerable people. Two outreach workers from PHS Community Services, formerly known as the Portland Hotel Society, will help connect residents to the accommodation.
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