Homeless in hotels disaster waiting to happen
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and her councillors are proposing to use vacant Victoria hotel rooms to house the homeless.
What a great idea Lisa! Let’s move them all to places like the Empress and the Grande, give them all their own rooms, supply them meals and cleaning services, maybe offer them tea at high noon. I guess we can all assume that the staff who is highly trained and professional are going to be catering to their new tenants, cleaning up the discarded needles, bed bugs and dealing with the unsanitary conditions, vandalism and theft. Look at what’s happening with Paul’s Motor Inn on a smaller scale; this would be 100 times worse.
Things will turn around and hotels will want to reopen, so how are we going to evict them? From past experience we know it takes months to move tent cities to different locations and then deal with the clean up that goes along with it. Can you imagine what a hotel would be like after evicting these people? The rooms would have to be stripped down to the studs and completely fumigated, redo floors, beds, walls and bathrooms. All linens, towels, bedding and carpets all would have to be replaced at a huge cost in the millions of dollars. Who will pay for this? I am sure the owners of the hotels won’t be, it will be us, a taxpayer? How many people are going to want to come to Victoria and stay in the Empress knowing that was a converted shelter and homeless people had been living in these rooms for extended periods?
When things do turn around and we want to get our tourism back, there will be no rooms available in downtown Victoria because they are all under renovation.
Homeless people do need to have a place to live, everyone agrees, but the majority of them are quite content to live in their tent communities because they choose that lifestyle. The city’s focus should be investing in more washroom facilities, wash stations, and security because they aren’t going to self isolate whether they are in a hotel or a tent.
Maybe Mayor Helps should speak to the people of Victoria, hotel staff and stakeholders for their input before she goes to Premier Horgan for his support. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.