03/12/2014 09:42 EDT | Updated 03/13/2014 11:59 EDT

Vancouver's Biltmore Hotel Reopens As Interim Supportive Housing

RainCity Housing and Support Society

A former Vancouver hotel has been officially reopened as an interim supportive housing for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

According to a BC Housing news release on Tuesday, what used to be the Biltmore Hotel at 395 Kingsway is now a clean and safe place for those waiting to get into long-term housing.

Operated by RainCity Housing and Support Society, the space underwent a $1.6-million renovation. Each unit is equipped with its own bathroom and tenants are provided one meal a day.

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Photo gallery Biltmore Hotel Supportive Housing See Gallery

According to The Globe And Mail, rent is $375 per month — the allotted amount welfare recipients receive for housing.

“We’ve had a strong partnership with the B.C. government to get new affordable housing and shelters open throughout Vancouver," Mayor Gregor Robertson said in the release.

"These interim units at the Biltmore will give people a home while new permanent housing is being built, and move the City closer to our goal of ending street homelessness in Vancouver by 2015,” he continued.

The project is not without criticism, though. Local residents are worried about crime and safety of children, especially with Nightingale Elementary nearby, reports The Province.

But RainCity Housing director Amelia Ridgway defends the program's promotion of community integration.

We’re not trying to put people into a bubble,” she told The Globe And Mail. “We’re trying to move people into living in a community.

CORRECTION: The hotel renovations cost $1.6 million, not $1.6 billion as stated in a previous version of this story.

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