Cheap hotels can be last line of defence

Quietly, slowly, but surely, something is slipping away from us here in the capital.

Quietly, slowly, but surely, something is slipping away from us here in the capital. On the surface, the impending sale of 603 Pandora (containing among other things the Plaza Hotel and Monty’s strip club) is part of a fairly normal process. It’s happened before with the Holiday Court, the Douglas Hotel and the Traveller’s Inn franchises; it’ll happen again, right? Buildings change hands, old replaces new, we all move on.

Unfortunately for some, moving on isn’t an option. Hundreds of people rely on hotels like the Plaza and the Douglas to fill the gaps in shelter services or provide at least a temporary alternative to the streets. While you might not have booked the Holiday Court for yourself, someone had a roof over their head because of its existence.

More broadly, hotel space represents a last line of defence for families on the edge of homelessness. “If that housing resource dries up we’re going to be impacted — our families are going to be impacted by not having an emergency resource to access when they are in crisis, which is what we use hotels for,” says Tory Kincross of the Burnside-Gorge Community Centre.

Kincross adds that the lack of subsidized housing leaves families little choice but to stay in hotels or risk living on the street and consequently losing their children to custody.

“There simply isn’t enough safe, affordable housing in the Greater Victoria region for everyone who needs it,” she says. And so hotel space is essential in keeping families together and off the streets. “Until we come up with a better solution, this is the best option that we have, and it seems to be meeting certain needs until we can find something else.”

Now, let’s get one thing straight. This sort of shelter (particularly on the cheaper end) is far from ideal; it’s short term, it’s cramped and, if it’s not expensive, chances are it’s unsafe.

The capital’s reliance on tourism also ensures that you’re shit out of luck if you need somewhere to live during the summer months. In short, living in a hotel sucks — but it’s better than living on the street, it’s better than losing your kids and it’s the only option available to a lot of people. M

Just Posted

International, Disney and Hallmark films set to be filmed in Victoria in 2019

Local and international production companies working out film locations in town

MATHIEU POIRIER: Exciting changes in store for Great Canadian Beer Fest

Annual celebration of craft beer expands to include more breweries from around the country

BEHIND BARS: Tag team ‘tenders driving the Barts’ bar

Matt Chaffe and Curtis Kidd keep locals and tourists cool during the summer season downtown

Roller skating fever taking over Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Learn about a life of luxury at Victoria’s historic Point Ellice House

New political exhibit part of grand reopening at the House this weekend, July 20-21

WATCH: Hot rods flock to Victoria for Northwest Deuce Days

RECAP: Crowds roll out for four-day festival

Local drag artists take over Caffe Fantastico every month

Novice and experienced performers alike take to the stage for an accessible, all-ages show

Esquimalt Ribfest in need of volunteers for September weekend

The three-day celebration of barbecue, music and more happens Sept. 6 to 8

Fashionable ode to the sea goes Friday at Fort Common

Local sustainable fashion retailers to strut their latest as part of ocean conservation fundraiser

Brentwood Bay brings $5 concerts every Wednesday evening

Variety of music on offer: picnics, good vibes and family friendly

Schitt’s Creek and its stars among Canadians with Emmy nominations

Co-creator Eugene Levy thought they had chance for one nomination, ‘then they kept rolling in’

Most Read