A controversial Vancouver homeless shelter that closed in June due to complaints of drug dealing, human waste and public sex is reopening today.
The mayor and operators of the False Creek North shelter say they have learned from last year’s experience.
“We’re confident that we can have a good, safe operation through this winter on a temporary basis,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“We have guidelines in place and a close working relationship with shelter operators to ensure that problems that have arisen in the past can be dealt with quickly and not create real issues in the neighbourhood.”
Sean Spear, director of support services with RainCity Housing, the non-profit organization that will run the re-opened Granville shelter, said there will be only half the number of people this winter, because the neighbouring shelter on Howe Street is not reopening.
There will also be a reservation system to eliminate lineups and 24-hour staffing so that people don’t have to leave during the day, he said.
Last winter, the city opened five low-barrier shelters in the Downtown and Downtown Eastside, including two beneath the Granville Street Bridge.
Robertson said trouble at the two sites arose when the weather warmed and people started hanging out in the alley. Residents complained about drug dealing and people urinating, defecating and having sex in public.
Housing Minister Rich Coleman closed the Granville shelter in June and the Howe Street shelter a month later.