Vancouver city council has approved $30 million to house people who are homeless in hotels and commercial sites.

The plan will allow the city to buy or lease units in vacant hotels, apartment buildings and single-room occupancy buildings to provide emergency relief for homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the motion Thursday night following a meeting that stretched for more than 12 hours and drew 35 speakers.

The city will immediately start moving people from the Strathcona Park homeless camp to temporary pandemic shelters as part of an approved amendment to the motion.

In addition, council agreed to use two city-owned sites — the 2400 Motel in East Vancouver and Jericho Hostel on the city’s west side — to immediately house homeless people.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who brought forward the original motion, thanked city council in a release minutes after the vote went through, and said the plan will get hundreds of people off the street. 

“Our city has been calling for action, and tonight council answered that call,” he wrote in a statement. 

“But make no mistake, this is not a silver bullet. We still need far more investments in housing, mental health services, and safe supply from our partners in the provincial and federal governments to truly deliver for our neighbours who need it most.”

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