Vancouver votes down motion to extend temporary modular housing leases

The majority of Vancouver city council has voted down a motion that would have extended leases for occupied temporary modular housing developments until replacement housing is available.

The plan was brought forward by OneCity councillor Christine Boyle, who has previously said leases for hundreds of units are set to expire over the next few years.

All ABC councillors — including Mayor Ken Sim — voted against the motion, while the three opposition councillors voted in favour of it.

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“The solution to homelessness is supportive housing. But a person can’t live in a building that will be built in ten years. Not extending temporary modular housing leases will lead to more people experiencing homelessness and more people forced to live in tents in our parks and on the street,” Boyle said in a release Wednesday.

“This weekend, while our Mayor was shotgunning beers on stage, three thousand homeless Vancouverites were looking for a place to lay their heads. This Council will be judged by its actions, not its stunts. And today, Mayor Sim and ABC proved that they are not up to the challenges that are facing our city.”

The motion aimed to protect more than 750 units which Boyle says are crucial to providing shelter to those most in need. Among the developments facing an expiring lease at the end of July is Larwill Place, which is located located in a parking lot at 610 Cambie Street.

The building is used by people experiencing homelessness, or people at risk of becoming unhoused in the city’s downtown core. The development opened in 2018 and features 98 units. The location of the building is slated to be the site of the new Vancouver Art Gallery.

“The decision today only underscores the urgency of the situation. Our homelessness problem is severe and requires innovative, bold action. These TMH units are more than ‘temporary’; they are home to hundreds of Vancouverites, who would otherwise be homeless, and provide a critical stepping stone towards stable housing,” Boyle added Wednesday.

The OneCity councillor says while her motion did not pass, she will continue advocating for “secure” and “dignified” housing.

-With files from Kier Junos

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