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COPE Councilor Ellen Woodsworth speaking on COPE Housing Solutions for Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES)

October 12, 2011 Leave a comment

COPE Councilor Ellen Woodsworth committed today to slow gentrification in the Downtown Eastside, a process that is pushing out local residents through unaffordable rent and rising food costs. In front of the controversial Pantages Theatre site, Woodsworth announced COPE’s plan to ensure property in the Downtown Eastside is devoted to affordable housing for the low-income community.

“The hundred block of Hastings is not a place for high end condos,” said Woodsworth. “The Downtown Eastside can count on COPE to make certain that housing developed in the neighbourhood provides for the current local residents.”

COPE committed to calling for a condominium development moratorium in the Downtown Eastside until sufficient low-income housing is in place. COPE will also strengthen the anti-conversion by-law by defining ‘affordability’ as being affordable to those on Government Assistance. This will ensure that residents of the area are not forced to leave their homes because of increasing rent.

“The Downtown Eastside community is well organised and they have set specific priorities for how the City plans their vital neighbourhood,” said Woodsworth. “COPE remains committed to listening to neighbourhoods, and this neighbouhood is speaking loud, and clear.”

Woodsworth highlighted the demands of local community groups, including the resident-based Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, calling on the City of Vancouver to identify 10 locations to be designated as future sites for low-income housing. COPE also commits to providing greater security and safety for residents of Single Occupancy (SRO) hotels.

“Our city staff need more resources to help enforce standards of maintenance by-laws. This is crucial in order to protect our city’s most vulnerable from absentee or neglectful land owners,” added Woodsworth.

COPE also set a target of creating 1000 affordable housing units in Vancouver every year.

“Housing is a top priority for our city, and residents can count on COPE to create a Vancouver for everyone with safe, secure, affordable housing,” said Woodsworth.

While calling for a national housing strategy and for increased provincial support for affordable and supportive housing units, COPE wants the City to play a leadership role in making the creation of new housing a reality.

“We cannot let Stephen Harper or Christy Clark off the hook. Both provincial and federal governments must return to the housing table,” said Woodsworth. “Vancouver cannot wait though, and COPE councilors will work everyday to focus on how best to make Vancouver affordable for everyone.”

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

December 17, 2009 2 comments

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



Community March to Stop the ‘Olympic Kidnap the Homeless’ Act at Hastings and Carrall Streets in Vancouver Downtown Eastside ( DTES ) Sunday Dec 13, 2009

December 14, 2009 Leave a comment

In the following photo and videos, Community March to Stop the ‘Olympic Kidnap the Homeless’ Act at Hastings and Carrall Streets in Vancouver Downtown Eastside ( DTES )

“The ‘Assistance’ to Shelter Act Must Be Stopped!

A coalition of DTES community groups and allies including CCAP, Streams of
Justice, IOCC, VanAct and DTES Power of Women Group are hosting a march
against the Olympic Kidnapping Act, which allows police to detain and
use force on homeless people to compel them into shelters.

*Rally to Stop the ‘Olympic Kidnapping Act*

SUNDAY DECEMBER 13 @ 3:30 PM-5:00PM
POLICE STATION (312 MAIN STREET, AT CORDOVA)

These videos were filmed by April Smith of AHA MEDIA on a New Media camera – Panasonic DMC-ZS3. AHA MEDIA is about exploring mobile media production through New Media cameras. For a better quality version of this video, please DM April Smith @AprilFilms on Twitter or Facebook.com/AprilFilms

Below are two photos of Vancouver Police questioning folks on steps of Vancouver Art Gallery

Roy speaks about horrible living conditions in Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES) SRO Hotel

June 29, 2009 Leave a comment

In this video, Roy ( who declined to be filmed ) speaks about the horrible living conditions which include bed bugs, rats and cockroaches that he and his partner face.

What is even more surprising is how his rent jumped $65 dollars extra  and how he lives on just $100 a month for support!!

Roy’s personal story is just one of the indications that gentrification and homelessness are becoming more apparent in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside

This was filmed by April Smith of AHA MEDIA on a Nokia N95 mobile cameraphone. April is passionate and skilled in making Nokia films by exploring mobile media production through the camera lens of a cellphone. For a better quality version of this video, please DM April Smith @AprilFilms on Twitter.

Hendrik Beune introduces Upwords Magazine from LifeSkills Centre in Vancouver Downtown Eastside

June 27, 2009 Leave a comment

In this video, Hendrik Beune introduces Upwords Magazine written by DTES Commnity folks about issues regarding the area from poverty, addiction and homeless issues.

It’s nice to see published work of DTES people’s stories and Hendrik Beune wrote an editorial in Upwords Magazine.  AHA MEDIA enjoys peer training others in making their own media. :)

This was filmed by April Smith of AHA MEDIA on a Nokia N95 mobile cameraphone. April is passionate and skilled in making Nokia films by exploring mobile media production through the camera lens of a cellphone. For a better quality version of this video, please DM April Smith @AprilFilms on Twitter.

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