The old Biltmore Hotel, located at 395 Kingsway, has now been converted into 95 social housing units, which will be ready for occupancy this month. It seems controversy is pretty common with the Biltmore. Dating back to before the hotel was even built in the 60's people were opposed to the proposed beer parlour because it was too close the elementary school. The hotel was built anyways and it was equipped with a beer parlour and cocktail lounge. Today we have a similar situation. People in the neighbourhood are not excited about the idea of social housing given the proximity to Florence Nightingale and Charles Dickens Schools and the senior home off of 12th Ave. The project was moved forward anyways. There is some security concerns as well. RainCity Housing who operates a dozen of buildings like this in Vancouver says they have worked very hard to secure the site.
The building will have a 24/7 concierge. Guests and residents have to be let in by the concierge and ID has to be shown. One meal a day is provided to the residents.
This is not permanent housing. There is a 6 year lease term in place (3 year term with an option to renew for another 3 years). People living in the Biltmore will be homeless, nearly homeless or from another SRO (single room occupancy) facility. The city is using the hotel as a stopgap while they wait for more supportive housing to open in the next few years.
I live one block from the Biltmore. I'm not too concerned but I'll definitely have my eyes peeled for any mischief. Let's face it 95 people moving into the area whether homeless or not there's bound to be a couple bad seeds getting into trouble. Some of the people moving in will have alcohol and drug related problems which makes me smirk in a sort of puzzled way because the hotel has 2 bars in it. The temptation will be huge.
If you live in the area and want to be kept up-to-date send me a message and I'll forward the emails I receive.