It has been six months since BC Housing hosted an information meeting about its proposal to convert the Quality Inn hotel into 49 units of housing for Langley’s homeless.
Since that October meeting — which saw more than 500 people pack into the Langley Events Centre — nothing more has been said or done about the proposal and the Quality Inn on 200 Street has sat empty.
When the Times contacted BC Housing, they said a second public meeting is scheduled for late May or early June and details of the meeting will be announced shortly.
BC Housing purchased the Quality Inn at 200 Street last year, but it is Township council who must decide whether to approve the necessary rezoning.
“BC Housing has submitted a rezoning application and look forward to presenting the project before council in late May or June,” said Laura Mathews, spokesperson for BC Housing.
Since October, the homeless population has grown and there are a significant number of camps all over Langley, from Willoughby to Aldergrove and Langley City.
During the winter months, the Gateway of Hope had to turn people away and was consistently at capacity each night.
“There is a significant population of people who are struggling with homelessness in Langley. This supportive housing project is an important first step to getting people off the street, out of local shelters and into safe and stable housing,” said Mathews.
“The goal of this project is to help tenants stabilize their lives and assist them with obtaining and maintaining their housing.”
Langley RCMP police chief Supt. Murray Power has long said ‘we can’t police our way out of the homelessness problem.’
That has been the position of RCMP detachments in the Lower Mainland that are facing the same challenges as Langley.
But issues surrounding the homeless, including frequent mental health calls, take up a significant amount of police officers’ time, said Power.
Bylaw officers in Langley City are taking to bicycles in an effort to help curb conflict between homeless people and local businesses and residents.
Safety, an increase in discarded used needles and crime were the main concerns brought to the microphone at the meeting, which saw a majority of speakers voice their opposition to the transitional housing project.
BC Housing and Stepping Stone Community Services Society are proposing to convert the existing 50-room hotel into 49 units of supportive housing as well as program space.
Stepping Stone will operate the housing, which will have at least two staff members on duty 24/7, said Stepping Stone executive director Janet Burden.
The low-barrier housing would include an office for the new Integrated Care Management (ICM) team funded through Fraser Health. The team includes a nurse practitioner, psychologist and psych nurse.
Currently, the ICM team is working out of the Gateway of Hope.