The B.C. government has purchased a second Victoria motel to house the city’s homeless population.
The province purchased Paul’s Motor Inn for about $15 million to provide 75 temporary homes for the community’s most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the long term, BC Housing plans to consult with the community and redevelop the site into a range of affordable housing options.
In a news release, Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the acquisition will provide a safe space for those who need it most.
“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.”
The decision comes weeks after the province purchased the Comfort Inn on Blanshard Street, providing 65 rooms and wraparound supports for people then living on Pandora Avenue and in Topaz Park. BC Housing and its partners are also operating the temporary Emergency Response Centre at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
Since April the province has been leasing 35 rooms at Paul’s Motor Inn for temporary housing, but by purchasing the entire motel, an additional 40 rooms will be made available.
Between April 25 and May 20, 344 people have been moved into temporary accommodations.
The decision to buy the motel is part of a movement by the province and its partners towards long-term, permanent housing solutions for the region, including roughly 3,330 new affordable homes in the Capital Regional District.
“The Province continues to be a strong partner as we work together to provide safety and security to our vulnerable populations in Victoria,” states Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “This second motel purchase demonstrates the Province’s commitment to making long-term investments and to ensure that no one who has been housed during the pandemic ends up back on the street.”
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