Paul's Motor Inn purchased by B.C. government to house homeless
Paul's Motor Inn, located in downtown Victoria, has been bought by the B.C. government to use as a temporary homeless shelter: (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- The B.C. government has purchased Paul’s Motor Inn in downtown Victoria to use as a temporary shelter for Victoria’s homeless population amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the long term, the provincial government plans to redevelop the site to create affordable housing.
For now, the landmark building will be used to provide approximately 75 units for unsheltered people. The site will also be fully staffed and offer wraparound supports for tenants, including daily meals, health-care and addictions treatment and storage for personal belongings.
The province says that security will also be present 24/7 for both tenants and the surrounding community.
“The purchase of this site will help support vulnerable people in the community and provide a safe place for those who don’t have a home,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in a statement Tuesday.
“Not only will this building deliver immediate relief and support to vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the site also offers permanent housing potential to help tackle the housing crisis and meet the needs of people in Victoria,” said Robinson.
In April, the City of Victoria leased 35 rooms from Paul’s Motor Inn to use as a temporary shelter.
At the time, the owner of building told CTV News that the inn suffered theft, property damage and abuse to staff members.
Moving forward, the province says that it will choose a new and experienced operator to manage the building within the next several weeks.
In the meantime, BC Housing will begin assessing and transitioning people into the building.
BC Housing will also create a community advisory community to collect input from the surrounding neighbourhood on the temporary shelter.
The B.C. government purchased Paul’s Motor Inn for a total of approximately $15 million.
Last month, the provincial government also purchased the Comfort Inn in Victoria for approximately $18.5 million to use as a temporary homeless shelter. Approximately 93 people are staying in the hotel now.
Between April 25 and May 20, the province says that 344 people who were living in encampments at Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue were moved into indoor sheltering at hotels, the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and other facilities.