A low-barrier emergency shelter in the 1400 block of Granville Street that created a “party zone” of street disorder and crime in False Creek North will close tomorrow, Mayor Gregor Robertson said yesterday.
Another shelter in the neighbourhood (1400 block of Howe Street) will stiffen-up its rules and will begin a 30-day probation period to determine whether it remains open.
Neighbours have complained about an increase in drug dealing and public sex and defecation. One neighbour was even threatened with a syringe.
“We’ve heard the concerns,” Robertson said. “I completely understand and share the frustration of the problems.”
Robertson said problems began with the warmer weather and were caused by having the Howe and Granville shelters located across an alley from one another.
“It created a party zone in the alley that has attracted dealers and all sorts of problems.”
Housing Minister Rich Coleman said the complaints surrounding the two shelters had become a “concern” for the province’s other homelessness efforts.
“As we try and build more supportive housing for people with mental health and addictions so that they can transition from the street … and their lives, we want neighbourhoods as partners.”
Three other low-barrier HEAT shelters in the Downtown Eastside, which were opened this winter to get homeless people out of the cold, will remain funded until the end of April 2010