Piccadilly Pub and Hotel

The Sun has extensive coverage this morning of the Piccadilly Pub and Hotel on Pender Street. This is one of a number of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels which seemed likely to be lost for their current purpose as the greater rewards of the Olympics loom.

The owner blames a company he leased the hotel to, and the occupants.

Buying the hotel wasn’t done to “satisfy his penchant for charitable work or for helping the most unfortunate,” but as a business decision

And therein lies the cause. Our various levels of government have almost given up on social housing, and those wth a combination of mental health and addiction problems. In fact the mental illnesses are as much cause and effect of “self medication” for people who should probably be in resident care. But the resources for the mentally ill were lost when the psychiatric institutions were closed and not replaced with adequate care in the community.

The City through its bylaws tries to ensure safe and affordable housing – but clearly this policy has failed dismally as the province has been buying up SROs in an attempt to provide basic accommodation. But as the recent count of the homeless showed, there is not nearly enough. And just providing a room at a rate barely covered by social assistance is hardly an adequate response to the problems that are region wide but tend to be concentrated in downtown.

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