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Daughter claims ailing father denied bed at Coquitlam shelter

"It's not safe, I'm worried for him," says daughter concerned her father has to go back to a hotel in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Port Coquitlam resident, Michelle, is worried about her father, who's been moved to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES).

A 63-year-old man living at a Coquitlam shelter for the past month has to go back to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, where he will be preyed upon by drug dealers, says his daughter.

Michelle, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her ailing father, told the Tri-City News she's been fighting to keep her dad in the city, where he has family and access to resources.

Michelle said she was told that her dad has to return to the Patricia Hotel, where he lived before moving to the 3030 Gordon Shelter a month ago.

Typical stays at 3030 Gordon are 90 days and Michelle said she fears for the health of her dad if he returns to the hotel, which was purchased by BC Housing in 2021 and is currently operated by Atira Property Management.

Among multiple issues, there was a death due to a fire at the hotel in 2022, which is located at 403 E. Hastings St.

"It's not safe, I'm worried for him," she said.

The Tri-City News has reached out to the RainCity Housing and Support Society for confirmation, but was told no one can comment.

"As is our confidentiality protocol, we can't share information about someone staying at the shelter," stated Bill Briscoll, RainCity manager of communications and fund development.

Michelle said her dad struggles with substance use, including fentanyl and crystal meth, but away from the Downtown Eastside had started to become clean and take better care of himself.

Michelle, who has three children of her own and lives at The Alex in Port Coquitlam, had arranged to have an occupational therapist work with him to see if he could get a scooter because of his knee problems, and had a social worker lined up.

If he goes back to the Downtown Eastside he'll lose his supports, she said.

"You put that type of person in the Downtown Eastside, it never ends well," said Michelle, who is worried her dad will end up dead of an overdose on Hastings Street.

In Coquitlam, she said, he was getting his life back together, showing pictures of her dad that showed him clean and smiling compared to older photos of him when he looked unkempt and depressed.

In an unfortunate twist, her dad ended up at Eagle Ridge Hospital on Thursday (Aug. 24) with an undisclosed problem and was expected to leave on his own to get downtown.

Michelle said she had hoped to find supportive housing for her father, in one of the longer-stay transition housing units at 3030 Gordon.

She said she was only given 24 to 48 hours to make other arrangements, which isn't enough time, she said, and she also disagrees with shelter management claims that there is a potential conflict of interest because her mom works at the shelter, even though she is separated from her dad, and that her dad hadn't given up his space at the Patricia Hotel.

Calling the media was a last-ditch effort to keep him close to home, she said.

"All his supports are here now, he’s got a social worker out here, the ministry file is out here, he is registered for all his service here," said Michelle.

"If they send him back down all the service are gone."

Meanwhile, Atira has given notice that it intends to withdraw from the operating agreement of the Patricia Hotel in November due to lack of funding.

Update: On Friday (Aug. 25) Michelle told the Tri-City News that she heard from the shelter that her father will be allowed to stay at 3030 Gordon for the full 90 days.