For the last two years, Atira Property Management has operated The Patricia Hotel, 403 Hastings Street in the Downtown Eastside, as a single room occupancy (SRO) housing site on behalf of BC Housing. It is one of 20 buildings Atira operates in the SRO portfolio on behalf of BC Housing.
BC Housing bought the Patricia Hotel during the COVID-19 pandemic and asked Atira to operate the site as an SRO, which it agreed to do. The people who moved into it were previously living in the Strathcona Park encampment; although this was a temporary solution, they have not moved to permanent housing to date.
Atira has notified BC Housing that it is activating a clause in its agreement that allows it to withdraw from the operating agreement at the middle of November 2023. Residents, employees and the BCGEU have been advised.
Atira has made this difficult decision for two reasons:
- The agreement with BC Housing to operate this site does not cover all costs. It relies on Atira collecting rent from residents, many of whom are no longer on income assistance for various reasons and have determined not to pay rent.
- In addition, the building is 110 years old, has had no significant renovations, and requires structural and mechanical repairs and maintenance beyond what was provided for in the agreement.
Atira remains committed to delivering Housing to Hope to the most marginalized citizens in B.C. It is also committed to the safety of its 1500 employees who work in its facilities, many of whom are BIPOC, new immigrants and often tenants of Atira’s housing programs themselves. It cannot operate housing on behalf of the Province if the contracts do not provide funding to ensure a safe building.
This decision comes as Atira is engaged in two significant reviews: a comprehensive governance review and forensic audit of all its programs to ensure that Atira can deliver on the highest standards of safety and operational excellence. It is also participating fully with BC Housing in its operational review of Atira.
Atira continues to provide housing to over 2253 mixed gender tenants other SRO sites on behalf of BC Housing, as well as provides services to 3000 women, children and gender diverse people.
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