Heritage Vancouver asks city to tread lightly around SROs in ‘historic’ DTES community
Heritage Vancouver is calling on the city to consider the preservation of the single-room occupancy hotels and those who occupy them in its oldest neighbourhood.
As more than 100 Downtown Eastside SROs near the end of their structural lifespans, the organization released its 2022 watchlist last week. Its top concern was the century-old hotels.
Director Jurian ter Horst says it’s not just the buildings that are at risk of erasure, it is the social fabric of the neighbourhood — which has long fought to accommodate the city’s most poor and vulnerable residents.
While at the turn of the 20th century, the hotels teemed with loggers, fishermen and miners, who needed a place to crash in town for a few nights, the dorm-style rooms now serve as a cheap, last resort for close to 7,000 residents who might otherwise go unhoused.
Neglect of the area has snowballed since the 1970s, ter Horst said.
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