'Deeply affordable' Victoria rental building closing down
Pacifica Housing plans to end their lease at the old Fairfield Hotel, which supplies affordable housing to dozens of people, due to cost concerns: Nov. 14, 2019 (CTV News)
VICTORIA - A 62-bed affordable rooming house, located across the street from Victoria City Hall, will be closing down next year.
The building, the former Fairfield Hotel, was purchased by Reliance Properties in 2017. Currently, the Pacifica Housing Advisory Association leases the building from Reliance Properties to run as affordable housing. However, Pacifica Housing now says it has decided to end their lease as of August of 2020 due to cost concerns.
Jenn Boulton-Stehle, director of property services for Pacifica Housing, told CTV News over the phone that the building itself just isn't set-up for the needs of their clients.
"There are many people who have mobility issues," said Boulton-Stehle. "The building has no elevator and the staircase is very unsafe for those people."
"As well, the rooms have no kitchens and there are only four bathrooms for residents to share," said Boulton-Stehle.
There are currently 51 residents living in the building, paying an average rent of $420 per month. The loss of this type of affordable housing has one Victoria city councillor very concerned.
"Given our housing crisis currently and the deep affordability of these units, we really can't afford to lose this housing at this moment," said councillor Sarah Potts.
"It's not clear where any of those tenants would end up going or if there even is suitable housing available."
Pacifica Housing says it's optimistic they will be able to find everyone a new place to live and has created a committee to help find a suitable home for everyone that will be displaced. The company notes that each of the tenants have different needs and not all housing is suitable for all of them. Pacifica Housing says it will be taking those needs into consideration when looking for new housing.
Councillor Potts told CTV News that Pacifica Housing does great work in the community and that she doesn't want to undermine their successes. But, she is concerned by the loss of a much needed affordable housing stock.
"It will be years before we could add 62 new units to our deeply affordable housing stock," said Potts. "We're in a housing crisis."