Gorgeous Warm weather during Sunday Street Market had vendors and peer workers of the DTES Street Market Society enjoying a festival atmosphere in Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES)
Roland Clarke, Coordinator says:
Solidarity in Vending
The weather was awesome. Perhaps the last great day of the year, it was almost summer again. A great break from the two Sundays of rain we just survived.
There is a subject that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time, and it is a subtle, but important one. The subject is why we, as coordinators of the market actually spend a portion of the day selling things ourselves.
During the day, I, Roland spend a lot of the day selling coffee and pop to raise money for the market. Also, Jacek sells 50/50 raffle tickets. Between these two activities (and the renting of tents and tables) we manage to raise more than $200 per week on average that can help pay for street market incidentals. This allows us to fund experiments, like bannock and muffin sales, and also buy new tents and tables when they get broken. Having petty cash on hand is extremely valuable, and we couldn’t run the market without it. We also provide on average about $500 in change to shoppers that come in with $20 bills and need smaller denominations. This way the vendors also do not need to keep so much cash on hand.
There is an additional, very important reason that the organizers of a grass roots street market should themselves engage in survival vending. This is because it is an essential statement of solidarity with the vendors we are trying to organize and build community. We recognize that life is hard, and all the rest of the vendors must scrounge for ways to hustle and survive at the market, so we do it too. We have to find a way to sell coffee for $1, and still make a profit. We then provide this benefit to the community in the form of cheap beverages, which the vendors are happy to purchase from us. It is in this way that we have inserted ourselves into the ecosystem instead of just trying to manage it from above. This builds trust, it cements solidarity, and it allows us to understand and relate to the struggles of the population that we are trying to protect.
This is why we vend.
This is why we must continue to vend to keep the spirit of the market pure.
NAOMI RESEARCH SURVIVORS: EXPERIENCES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
08 November · 19:00 – 20:30
World Art Centre, 2nd Floor, SFU Woodward’s Campus, 149 West Hastings, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
NAOMI HEROIN ASSISTED TREATMENT RESARCH SURVIVORS: EXPERIENCES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In January 2011, Dave Murray organized a group of participants from the NAOMI heroin assisted treatment research study in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
The NAOMI Patients Association (NPA) meets every Saturday at Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU). Shortly after NPA began to meet, they decided to work towards conducting their own research about their experiences as NAOMI research subjects. They were particularly interested in recording their experiences during and following NAOMI and making recommendations for future heroin and drug substitution research experiments and programs.
Being the only contemporary “research participants” in North America to receive heroin maintenance, they believe that they have unique knowledge about the NAOMI projectand its impact on the lives of those addicted.
The recommendations for future projects and programs are drawn from lived experiences.
The following presentation draws from these focus groups and NPA meetings.
Chair: Donald MacPherson, Director of Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, former City of Vancouver Drug Policy Coordinator
Dave Murray, founder of NPA
Dianne Tobin, Vice-President of VANDU and member of NPA
Jewl Chapman, Member of VANDU and NPA
Susan Boyd, Professor, University of Victory, drug policy researcher
VANDU Protest and Vigil commemorated 40 years of injustice & deaths through Drug Wars Misery in Vancouver Downtown Eastside on Friday June 17, 2011
VANDU’s action in solidarity with the Students for Sensible Drug Policy who held candlelight vigils across North America to demand an end to the “drug war” declared by Richard Nixon on June 17 1971.
Forty years ago today, Nixon publicly declared war on drugs. Since then, the US federal government has wasted over $1 trillion ruining peoples’ lives and putting tens of millions of nonviolent citizens in jail. Canada is now mimicking US policy.
Tonight, more than 500,000 people across the US will have to sleep behind bars for violating a nonviolent drug offense. That’s more than all of western Europe locks up for ALL offenses. This disgrace is a fiscal and moral nightmare for all of us who care about freedom, responsibility and accountable government. Think about this: locking up one inmate costs about $30,000 per year in the US and $320/day in Canada– way more than is costs to go to college.
We’re fed up with these disastrous policies – Our governments MUST finally end this shockingly wasteful, counterproductive war.
VANDU is a group of users and former users who work to improve the lives of people who use illegal drugs through user based peer support and education
Health, Harm Reduction and the Law: The InSite Case and the Future of Canadian Drug Policy in Vancouver
Join us for Health, Harm Reduction and the Law
written by darcie| Thu, 05/05/2011 – 10:41
Next week, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the Federal Government’s final appeal of the decision to allow the Insite Supervised injection facility to continue to provide lifesaving medical services and support to people who use injection drugs. We are inviting everyone who is interested in learning more about the struggle to open Canada’s first supervised injection site, the ongoing legal battle to keep it open, and the potential impact of a final ruling in this case to join us May 17th for Health, Harm Reduction and the Law: The InSite Case and the Future of Canadian Drug Policy.
Pivot board member and author of Vancouver’s groundbreaking Four Pillars Drug Strategy, Donald MacPherson will moderate an evening of discussion with legal professionals, medical experts, community activists and safe injection site users. The evening will focus on demystifying the case, celebrating the successes and challenges of the movement for evidence-based drug policy, and turning our attention to the future of drug policy in this country.
We’ll see footage straight from the courtroom in Ottawa. We will hear from the Portland Hotel Society, which operates Insite, and their lawyer, Monique Pongracic-Speier. Dr. Thomas Kerr of the Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Maxine Davis, Executive Director of the Dr. Peters Aids Foundation will talk about the potential health implications of the decision in this case. Plaintiff Dean Wilson will reflect on his journey through the court process as a person who has used Insite. Downtown Eastside activist Bud Osborn will share reflections on the grassroots movement for a supervised injection facility. Dave Murray will talk about the unique perspective and legal arguments that the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users has brought to this case.
We’re looking forward to a lively evening of discussion, debate and reflection on the implications of this case for people who use drugs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and beyond.
HOMELESS WILL START TENT CITY TO DEMAND SHELTER: CHRISTY CLARK, STOP SHELTER CLOSURES AND BUILD HOMES NOW
Vancouver: Five emergency shelters are scheduled to close because of lack of funding and commitment from the city and province starting on April 27th. Homeless reps from three shelters with the support of housing advocates announced their intention to start tent cities outside shelters if funding is not renewed within 24 hours. The first action will take place on Wednesday, April 27 at 10:00 a.m. at the Cardero shelter.
These 3 shelters are slowly emptying out and scheduled to close this week:
747 Cardero St (Wednesday)
1442 Howe St (Thursday)
677 E Broadway @ Fraser St (Friday)
There are about 20-30 people remaining in each of these 3 shelters. Residents in these shelters lack options once their shelters close. Many can’t rent apartments because of stigma from landlords. No social housing is available. Many will fail and be back on the street if they go back to an infested, unsafe SRO in areas where they used to use drugs or have been “red zoned” by police.
As Marta from the Howe shelter said, “I’m going to stay right here in the alley. We are here because we don’t want to be alone. We got nobody. Everyone else has a family, we don’t. This is our family.” Marta said she doesn’t buy the excuse that governments don’t have money. She explained that each person in her shelter is eligible for $375 a month for rent on welfare and if you multiply this by 40 people per shelter that means BC Housing already has $15,000 a month to spend to keep her shelter open.
“I can’t go to an SRO”, said Chase from the Cardero Shelter. “I’ll go crazy and just end up back on the street. If this shelter closes, I guess I’ll head to the Super Value parking lot. That’s where we came from before they opened this place up.” “If I lose this place, these regular meals and my guaranteed spot here, then I’ll go back to selling drugs to survive,” said Deanna, also from the Cardero Shelter. Don from the Fraser shelter who is about 65 years old said: “Two women near IGA on Broadway got me to come here about a month ago. I’ve been outside a long time. I guess if they close this, I’ll be in the doorways, back laneways and behind restaurants.” Kerry from Howe said: If this closes I’ll find an abandoned house. I have my Coleman stove. I hope nobody will notice me. If this shuts down, the government will spend more money on corrections. People here will be panhandling, living in the allies. You would think they would rather we stay in the shelter.”
Shelter residents are under stress from poor health and because of the impending closure, but despite that, there is a strong spirit among many who want to stick together and form a vigil in front of their shelters to make their concerns heard. Advocates have joined together to defend shelter residents from losing their ground, their networks of support and these makeshift homes.
Wendy Pedersen of the Carnegie Community Action Project said, “We are mortified that we have to fight for these shelters every year. Premier Clark promised to regularize funding for shelters. She needs to show she’s in charge and get funding within 24 hours plus commit to building 2000 social housing units a year in BC. We need the Mayor to live up to his promises to end homelessness, buy land for social housing and cancel his office renovations and other unnecessary expenses in order to pay to keep these shelters open as long as needed.”
Gail Harmer, Council of Senior Citizens of BC, talked to shelter residents and asks: “Do Vancouverites realize that increasingly seniors are among the people using these temporary shelters? We simply cannot afford housing costs even after we sell all our possessions and go without medications and food!! We appreciate the ‘care’ and ‘community’ of these temporary 24 hour shelters. With their closing, the housing options offered by BC Housing are less appealing than the streets! Can you imagine?!”
“Last spring, the City and Province shut down 5 shelters. Now they are shutting down 5 more, kicking people who have nowhere else to go onto the street. There is no good reason to do this. Everyone suffers. This cruel and precarious situation has to change,” said Tristan Markle of Vanact! “Mayor Robertson won power on the backs of the poor and working-poor, promising to make Vancouver affordable and to end homelessness. But the City is becoming less affordable every day, and the numbers of homeless are only increasing. We need a big change.”
“Here we are with shelters closing in the same week the City of Vancouver passes a law saying it is illegal to put up shelter on a public street,” said Doug King, lawyer at Pivot Legal Society. “The lack of understanding is appalling.”
Contact shelter supporters:
Wendy Pedersen, Carnegie Action Project 604-839-0379
Nate Crompton, Vanact 604-700-2309
Doug King, Pivot lawyer 778-898-6349
Charles Gautier, DV Business Improvement Association 604-617-4565
Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity
BC Association of People on Methadone
Carnegie Community Action Project
Citywide Housing Coalition
Council of Senior Citizens of BC (COSCO)
DTES Neighbourhood Council
DTES Women’s Centre Power to Women
Indigenous Action Movement
Pivot Legal Society
St. Augustine’s social justice committee
Streams of Justice
Teaching Support Staff Union Social Justice Committee
Transformative Communities Project Society
Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society
1) Homeless Count
According to the 2010 homeless count, the number of homeless in Vancouver has increased 12% from 2008, from 1576 to 1762. The count shows that the homeless continue to be disproportionately Aboriginal, older and in poor health. Until now, most homeless people have been able to find shelter beds; the closure of these shelters will mean more than 600 people will sleep on the streets of Vancouver.
2) Premier Clark on shelters
Premier Clark states she will regularize shelter funding:
“Last week, Premier Clark told me she wants to “regularize the way we fund” homeless shelters. The current funding for many of those shelters ends April 30 and hundreds of people will be put out on the streets—11 days before the by-election.
3) DVBIA on shelters
Charles Gautier, Executive Director of the Downtown Business Improvement Association provided this statement in support of keeping the shelters open: “The DVBIA is in support of keeping the shelters open since they provide the most vulnerable in our society with the basic necessities to survive- a roof over their head, food and access to counseling and other services they require. Our data also illustrates that there is a significant reduction in street disorder. So the shelters are a win-win for both the individual and the community in general.”
4) Pivot Legal on new by-law against homeless tents
Submissions from Pivot Legal to city council regarding “Effect of Street and Traffic By-law amendments to homeless”:
5) Contact government officials for statements:
Christy Clark, Premier
Chris Olsen, Press Secretary, Office of the Premier, 604 220-1640
Gregor Robertson, Mayor
Kerry Jang, City Councillor
Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing
Primary contact: Jake Jacobs, Cell: 250 213-6934, Direct: 250 952-0628, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternate contact: Marc Black, Cell: 250 889-1295, Direct: 250 952-0623, email@example.com