DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE - The "upgrading" of SRO hotels is putting low-income residents out in the cold. The Carnegie Community Action Project's 2011 hotel report cites gentrification and government inaction for the worsening crisis.
The survey of privately-owned SRO (single room occupancy) hotels found the number of rooms renting for $375 or less has dropped by 5% in the past year to only 7% of the 3,500 private rooms in the neighbourhood. In 2009, the percentage of rooms under $375 was was 29%.
CCAP released its fourth annual survey - UPSCALE: The Downside of Gentrification - across the street from the York Rooms on Powell today. The York is currently being "upscaled".
The report found that:
- More hotels are excluding low-income DTES residents by high prices and by class, racial and health profiling;
- The number of rooms in hotels where the lowest rent is $425 or more declined;
- The number of rooms in hotels where the lowest rent is $600 or more increased;
- More hotels seem to be renting illegally on a daily or weekly basis.
Speakers at the press conference described widespread discrimination in who hotels will rent to - citing examples where "students" were encouraged to move in over Indigenous people and people perceived as low income.
The report recommends that:
- The city buy 10 sites a year for social housing in the DTES and stop condo development until all current DTES residents have decent housing;
- The province spend its $250 million Housing Endowment Fund on housing now;
- The federal and provincial governments provide funds to replace 1,000 SROs a year for the next five years with self contained social housing residents can afford.
The complete report is online at ccapvancouver.wordpress.com