AHA MEDIA from Vancouver Downtown Eastside is very proud to be featured on the Blog site of the Mayor of London, England – Boris Johnson!

AHA MEDIA is very proud to be featured on Blog site of the Mayor of London – Boris Johnson!

http://www.boris-johnson.com/2009/12/16/the-challenge-of-housing-and-homelessness/

Many thanks to our great mentor @Raincoaster for featuring AHA MEDIA and what we do in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside!

http://www.Raincoaster.com

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@Raincoaster writes

” We all know this blog belongs to the Mayor of London (although detached it is still his in spirit), and before that was based out of the cosmopolitan megalopolis of Henley, but for a moment I’d like to divert your attention to my own town, indeed my own neighborhood. I’d like to introduce you to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Queen of Hastings Street

Queen of Hastings Street

Image by Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA, From the Hope in Shadows collection, COPYRIGHT: Pivot Legal Society, 2009
hendrik-mobile-office

Hendrik Gets His Chair by AHA Media

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@Raincoaster writes ” With an average life expectancy in the mid-forties (thanks to disease, addiction, and the interlocking social and physical problems arising from substandard- or no housing), the DTES (Downtown Eastside) has been an archetypal skid row since the days in the last century when lumber was, in fact, skidded in the mud down the street on its way to the sawmill because wagons were for the rich folk.

Now, after more than a century of struggling with the issue, I’m proud to say that Vancouver has eliminated homelessness.

We anticipate increased life expectancy (as much as thirty years for DTES residents), a significant drop in crime (particularly violent crime), and an estimated $5000 per person “housing dividend,” reflecting the difference in social service expenditures between the housed and the homeless.

Gregor Robertson at Union Gospel Mission by AHA media

Gregor Robertson at Union Gospel Mission by AHA Media

If a Canadian may toot her city’s own horn, this is truly an amazing accomplishment and Mayor Gregor (Robertson), Premier Gordon Campbell, City Hall, social service agencies, advocacy groups and officials at all levels should be very, very proud. I salute them. Who can even imagine how it must feel to know, unequivocally, that you’ve changed the world for the better.

Here is the official Homelessness is Over press release, via the Pivot Legal Society, a great organization whose mandate is to ensure that the laws of the nation apply equally to all, and who are always on top of positive (and negative) developments in housing for the homeless in Vancouver:

Vancouver’s housing crisis is finally over. Today Ray Solda, Vancouver’s last homeless person, moved into his room in the Kansas Hotel, a new social housing building funded by the provincial government. Government officials and Canadians everywhere today are celebrating the end of homelessness in Vancouver, a city that has struggled with a homelessness crisis for years.

Today’s announcement is the result of a number of key investments made by the provincial government to build social and supportive housing as part of their visionary comprehensive housing strategy. Despite the up-front costs, government and experts alike are confident that ending homelessness in Vancouver will actually save money over the long term.

“The years of spiralling rates of homelessness, derelict hotels, over-crowded shelters and laws punishing those without a safe place to live are going to be remembered as a dark page in this province’s history” says Laura Track, Pivot’s housing campaigner. “But the way this government changed course and resolved the crisis is a testament to what is possible when governments show real leadership and determination to make positive social change.”

Already, Vancouver is being held up as model for the rest of the country. Governments around the world are looking to the province for guidance in addressing homelessness in their jurisdictions.  When asked what role she felt advocacy work had in ending homelessness, Track commented: “This accomplishment is the result of people coming together and saying they would not settle for anything less than an end to homelessness. It took everyday people saying yes, I will welcome social housing into my neighbourhood and taxpayers recognizing that it makes financial sense to tackle homelessness. Finally, it took governments hearing the call and making the decision to act.”

Once again: simply amazing. This is an incredible example to the rest of the world.

So you tell me: does London have what it takes?

@Raincoaster

You can learn more about London’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy here



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  1. December 17, 2009 at 9:09 am | #1

    Congrats on being featured! You deserve it. I only type; you’re the ones who make the images that are worth a thousand words.

  2. December 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm | #2

    Raincoaster! :)

    Thank you very much for featuring us!

    Homelessness is an issue that a great many of us have faced in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside.

    We wish for a positive solution to be found very soon!

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