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New housing on the way

<p>More than 1,000 low-income individuals and families will have the chance to get out of the Downtown Eastside when 12 new social housing properties are completed outside the inner city.</p>

City-owned sites to be turned into social housing



RAFE ARNOTT/METRO VANCOUVER


Trench O’Neill describes the abysmal living conditions he and partner Shyan George, left, endure in a Downtown Eastside hotel as they wait for assisted housing to be made available.





More than 1,000 low-income individuals and families will have the chance to get out of the Downtown Eastside when 12 new social housing properties are completed outside the inner city.





The city-owned sites, which will be given over tax-free, will be spread throughout Vancouver in neighbourhoods like Kitsilano, Yaletown and False Creek.





Trench O’Neill, 29, and Shyan George, 26, live in a single room occupancy hotel because they can’t afford anywhere else.





“We have to get rid of bed bugs all the time,” said George, adding they often kick prostitutes and crack addicts out of the building.





“The condition in the hotels, no wonder (people) are doing drugs,” said George.





The couple said they’ve been on a list for B.C. Housing for two years because demand exceeds the availability of suites.





Mayor Sam Sullivan said the investment is a long time coming.





“Many of the properties we’re dealing with were around when I first got on council 15 years ago, so to me this is just a miracle,” he said.





Melissa Berge, 27, a nurse who lives in Kitsilano, said she wouldn’t object to seeing subsidized housing in her neighbourhood.





“I think having safe, clean housing for them would be smart,” she said.




kristen.thompson@metronews.ca

 
 
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