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Photos from Paint Party at the Old Cop Shop at 312 Main Street in Vancouver

April 14, 2013 1 comment

Downtown Eastsiders paint old police station to claim it for 100% social housing

About 75 Downtown Eastside residents and supporters gathered at the former police station at Main and Cordova today to claim the empty building for social housing and a community space for Aboriginal women and social justice groups. “No corps here. 100% social housing,” said one sign. “People not profit,” said another.

Every resident based group in the Downtown Eastside supports this demand, including the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, Carnegie Community Centre Association, Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group, Aboriginal Front Door, Gallery Gachet and Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction.

The action was one of a series by Formerly Homeless Dave and his supporters. Dave is on day 24 of a Hunger Strike. His demands include using the city owned former police station for social housing, having the city buy the site at 138 E. Hastings for social housing, and declaring the Downtown Eastside a Social Justice Zone where low income people won’t be pushed out.

Wendy Pedersen, an independent organizer and DTES resident told the group that 5000 SRO residents and over 600 shelter resident in the DTES are in dire need of housing. But instead of using the empty cop shop for what the neighbourhood desperately needs, the city “wants to put in a high tech venture capital hub that will bring more condos, fancy restaurants and displacement.”

Pedersen said we need “drastic action now” because “we’ve been to every city council meeting in the last 10 years and we lose every time.”

Ten year old Agnes, started painting the wall with a three foot high daisy, part of a DTES tradition begun in 1995 when now MLA Jenny Kwan painted a daisy on Woodward’s as part of a fight to get it turned into social housing.

But the 125 units of singles social housing at Woodward came with 536 condos which pushed up land values and prices nearby, and over 400 SROs raised rents, within a block of Woodward’s, beyond what people on welfare and pensions can afford.

“We won’t be tricked again,” said Dave Hamm of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.

Homeless Dave said that the Hunger Strike is “not fun.” But it’s necessary because the Mayor is planning to give this building to corporations and then subsidize them instead of building social housing in the community.”

“This gentrification and displacement of human lives is not right,” Elaine Durocher, a DTES resident, told the group. “Housing is a right. I was homeless once and I know what it feels like.”

VANDU president Dave Hamm said that VANDU “is in total support of Homeless Dave’s Hunger Strike and housing.”

DJ Joe of the DNC board said she was also in support of the Hunger Strike.

People drew pictures of flowers, houses, and people on the wall of the old police station. Their slogans read: “100% social housing today.” “We are Human!” “Human capital, not venture capital.” “Homes here now.” “Condos create homelessness.”

Formerly Homeless Dave plans to continue the Hunger Strike until action is taken on his demands.

www.dteshungerstrike.blogspot.com

Contact: Tami Starlight 604.790.9943; Wendy Pedersen 604. 839.0379;

-30-

18 AHA MEDIA  and ACCESS TV films Paint Party for Housing in Vancouver

180 AHA MEDIA  and ACCESS TV films Paint Party for Housing in Vancouver

The demands:
1. 100% social community directed social housing at the 138 Sequel location, with a healing and wellness center. (the old pantages theatre site)

2. 100% social housing at the old cop shop on Main St. with a community directed space focused on indigenous women in regards to the horrific damage done to indigenous people by Vancouver police for a very long time at that site.

3. The City of Vancouver declare the downtown eastside a social justice zone and along with the community develop policies to make that happen.

How to get involved: email dteshungerstrike@gmail.com
Twitter: dteshungrstrike
http://www.dteshungerstrike.blogspot.ca/
https://www.facebook.com/DtesHungerStrike

Photos from Downtown Eastside Hunger Strike: (Formerly) Homeless Dave march to Vancouver City Hall

April 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Day 14: Downtown Eastside Hunger Striker to “weigh-in” and deliver demands to City Hall

On Thursday, April 4th, Homeless Dave will be pushed in his wheelchair in a procession from Main and Hastings to City Hall. This will be Day 14 of Dave’s hunger strike for social housing and to stop gentrification in the Downtown Eastside.
58  AHA MEDIA supports Homeless Dave Hunger Strike to City Hall in Vancouver

At City Hall, Dave’s supporters, including Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, will deliver a letter to the Mayor’s office that requests a meeting and a response to hunger strike demands. At this time, Dave will make a presentation and be available for questions. Also, learn about Dave’s weight and health as he enters his third week without food.

119  AHA MEDIA supports Homeless Dave Hunger Strike to City Hall in Vancouver

“Gentrification is intensifying; the housing crisis is deepening, and the health of the people and the land are under serious threat. Desperate times call for desperate measures.” -Homeless Dave

195  AHA MEDIA supports Homeless Dave Hunger Strike to City Hall in Vancouver

111  AHA MEDIA supports Homeless Dave Hunger Strike to City Hall in Vancouver

Press Conference to keep Homeless Shelters open in Vancouver

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

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.”

-30-

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

Advocates:

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

Gallery Gachet

Indigenous Action Movement

Pivot Legal Society

Spartacus Books

St. Augustine’s social justice committee

Streams of Justice

Teaching Support Staff Union Social Justice Committee

Transformative Communities Project Society

Urban Subjects

Vanact!

Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society

Background info:

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.

http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/housing/pdf/VancouverHomelessCount2010.pdf

2)     Premier Clark on shelters

Premier Clark states she will regularize shelter funding:

http://www.vancourier.com/columnists/City+hall+Victoria+getting+cozier/4657025/story.html

“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”:

http://gallery.mailchimp.com/9a451e878eeec0a3e584da1a3/files/2011_04_18_LT_Council_2_.pdf

5)     Contact government officials for statements:

Christy Clark, Premier
Chris Olsen, Press Secretary, Office of the Premier, 604 220-1640

Shayne Ramsey, CEO BC Housing
604-439-4712 – Shayne, 604-433-1711 – general, sramsayq@bchousing.org,
sramsay@bchmc.bc.ca

Gregor Robertson, Mayor
604.873.7621

Kerry Jang, City Councillor
604.873.7246

Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing
Primary contact: Jake Jacobs, Cell: 250 213-6934, Direct: 250 952-0628, jake.jacobs@gov.bc.ca
Alternate contact: Marc Black, Cell: 250 889-1295, Direct: 250 952-0623, marc.black@gov.bc.ca

AHA MEDIA visit inside Fraser Street Shelter at 677 E Broadway by Fraser St in Vancouver

April 25, 2011 Leave a comment

AHA MEDIA together with Wendy Pedersen and Dave Murray of Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) visit the Fraser Street Shelter at 677 E Broadway by Fraser St  in Vancouver that is due to be closed down on Friday April 29, 2011

Homeless will start Tent City to demand shelter

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.

These 3 shelters are slowly emptying out and scheduled to close immediately:

747 Cardero St (Wednesday)

1442 Howe St (Thursday)

677 E Broadway @ Fraser St (Friday)

There are about 20-30 people remaining in these 3 shelters.  Residents in these shelters lack options once their shelters close.  They can’t rent apartments because of stigma from landlords.  No social housing is available.  Many can’t bear to 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 the shelter 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 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.”

For more information, contact:

Wendy Pedersen, Carnegie Action Project (604) 839-0379

Nate Crompton, Vanact:   604-700-2309
Doug King, Pivot lawyer 778-898-6349

Advocates:

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

Gallery Gachet

Indigenous Action Movement

Pivot Legal Society

St. Augustine’s social justice committee

Streams of Justice

Teaching Support Staff Union Social Justice Committee

Urban Subjects

Vanact!

Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society

Background info:

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.

http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/housing/pdf/VancouverHomelessCount2010.pdf

AHA MEDIA visit inside Howe Street Shelter at 1442 Howe St in Vancouver

April 25, 2011 1 comment

AHA MEDIA together with Wendy Pedersen and Dave Murray of Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) visit the Howe Street Shelter at 1442 Howe St in Vancouver that is due to be closed down on Thursday April 28, 2011

Homeless will start Tent City to demand shelter

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.

These 3 shelters are slowly emptying out and scheduled to close immediately:

747 Cardero St (Wednesday)

1442 Howe St (Thursday)

677 E Broadway @ Fraser St (Friday)

There are about 20-30 people remaining in these 3 shelters.  Residents in these shelters lack options once their shelters close.  They can’t rent apartments because of stigma from landlords.  No social housing is available.  Many can’t bear to 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 the shelter 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 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.”

For more information, contact:

Wendy Pedersen, Carnegie Action Project (604) 839-0379

Nate Crompton, Vanact:   604-700-2309
Doug King, Pivot lawyer 778-898-6349

Advocates:

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

Gallery Gachet

Indigenous Action Movement

Pivot Legal Society

St. Augustine’s social justice committee

Streams of Justice

Teaching Support Staff Union Social Justice Committee

Urban Subjects

Vanact!

Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society

Background info:

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.

http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/housing/pdf/VancouverHomelessCount2010.pdf

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