News Local

DTES shelter becomes permanent


St. James Community Service Society will receive almost $2.3 million to help rebuild Powell Place Women's Shelter and double the capacity of the permanent, year-round, women-only shelter in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, the province announced Tuesday.

The provincial government will give the society close to $575,000 in operational funding to keep the temporary shelter open for another six months, and help with operational funding once the permanent shelter is open.

In 2009, the shelter moved from its original location at 329 Powell St. to a converted warehouse down the road, which had poor ventilation and limited natural light and outdoor space, but could accommodate 26 more beds.

The renovated Powell Place, when returned to 329 Powell, will accommodate all 52 beds on a permanent basis, and also have room for health assessment and treatment facilities, workshop and group space, enclosed outdoor space, recreation areas, a commercial kitchen and eating areas.

The entire project is expected to cost $4.1 million. Construction is due to begin next spring.

Powell Place serves 300 women a year, about 40% of whom are helped to successfully move on to permanent housing or treatment facilities.