Raffles Inn has run a 12-bed shelter for the past 15 years, and with occupancy rates dropping BC Housing is looking for a new location. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View) Raffles Inn has run a 12-bed shelter for more than a decade, and with occupancy rates dropping BC Housing is looking for a new location. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

BC Housing to move shelter location from Raffles

After 12 years, the province looks for another year-round homeless shelter location in Prince Rupert

After more than a decade of Raffles Inn hosting the year-round homeless shelter, BC Housing stated it’s looking for a new site.

“Given the condition of the Raffles Inn, we acknowledge that a more suitable location is needed for the shelter. BC Housing is working with the city and the North Coast Transition Society to identify a new location,” said Darren Harbord, spokesperson for the ministry of municipal affairs and housing, in an email on Nov. 29.

READ & WATCH MORE: Homeless shelter opens with 25 beds

BC Housing has been supporting the Prince Rupert Salvation Army to manage the 12-bed homeless shelter out of Raffles Inn since 2005. But after tent city popped up outside city hall in early November, the homelessness situation in the community was drawn out into the open. MLA Jennifer Rice pointed out in council that the occupancy rate for the shelter in Raffles Inn was a mere 20 per cent in October, and that it wasn’t meeting the need.

“I think we all know, my community office knows…the people camped out on your front lawn know that the low occupancy rate at Raffles does not accurately reflect the true number of homeless that we have in Prince Rupert,” Rice said in council on Nov. 14.

Bed bugs is the reason why many people who are homeless in Prince Rupert say they won’t stay at Raffles.

“We understand that there may be concerns with bed bugs in a different part of the hotel, but the Salvation Army makes a concerted effort to ensure the shelter is clean and protected from bed bugs. If bed bugs are discovered in a shelter funded by BC Housing, we assist the society with the cost of an exterminator,” Harbord said in the email.

READ MORE: BC Housing reveals cost to run two homeless shelters

Northwest manager of public health protection, Doug Quibell, said it has been a year and a half since they received a complaint. Northern Health has worked with the operator for over a decade.

“Over the years with Raffles we’ve worked with residents, pest control companies and the operator,” Quibell said.

The owner of Raffles Inn, Irene Ma, said they do their best to keep it clean and comfortable. When she heard BC Housing is searching for a new shelter locations she said: “Not that many people come here now, and if a new shelter fills the need then it has to happen.”

Earlier this year, the 50-room hotel with a restaurant and lounge on Third Avenue West was listed for $2 million.

After years of running the shelter out of Raffles Inn, Lieutenant Sabrina Silvey said she wasn’t informed that BC Housing was looking for a new location.

“As it stands right now, the last time we heard from BC Housing we will continue as we’ve been continuing,” she said on Nov. 30.

The Salvation Army is receiving approximately $168,000 in 2017/2018 to operate the homeless shelter.

BC Housing was unable to comment on what the Salvation Army’s role with the shelter will be moving forward.

 

shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com 

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

BC HousingNorth Coast Transition Society

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Water Quality Advisory’ lifted for Prince Rupert

Some Prince Rupert residents are still under a ‘Boil Water Notice’

Liberals and Greens yet to announce North Coast candidates

North Coast candidates have until two weeks before the election to name contenders

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Planned upgrades didn’t go as planned

CityWest said a fibre-line break caused outages to all customers

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Most Read