Vancouver’s controversial Howe Street shelter will close Aug. 7 and be replaced by more cost-efficient housing in the downtown core, Mayor Gregor Robertson and Housing Minister Rich Coleman announced Thursday.

The province is leasing Dunsmuir House, a 166-unit building located on Dunsmuir and Richards, which will provide more housing for the city’s homeless population.

“I’ve been very clear for many months that these shelters were not permanent solutions to homelessness,” said Robertson.

Controversy has dogged the shelters since they opened with neighbours complaining about increased drug use, drug dealing and public urination.

The estimated cost of the lease and supports will cost around $570 per person per month at Dunsmuir House, compared to the HEAT shelters that cost approximately $2,000 per person per month.

All the people from the Howe and Granville shelters have the option of moving to Dunsmuir House.

This will be the second of the five heat shelters opened last winter that have closed down. The three remaining shelters will continue to be funded by the province until April 2010.

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