Downtown Eastsiders to take a mock SRO to Pt. Grey for High Tea in Vancouver
Downtown Eastsiders to take a mock SRO to Pt. Grey for High Tea
Downtown Eastside residents and supporters plan to invade Point Grey with a mock SRO and two not-so-beloved creatures, Itchy the Bedbug and Creepy the Cockroach. They then plan to serve High Tea at a mystery location. The action, sponsored by Raise the Rates, will contrast living conditions for the poor and rich and point out that extreme income inequality actually shortens the lives of people who are poor and that unequal countries have more social problems than more equal countries.
The media was invited to:
· See Downtown Eastside residents protest extreme wealth in the midst of poverty;
· Learn facts about the impact of inequality;
· Learn how inequality could be reduced.
Raise the Rates is a coalition of BC groups that want governments to reduce poverty and inequality.
To the owner of 4707 Belmont Drive
We are a gathering of individuals, members of community groups, and representatives from various organizations concerned with the levels of poverty and homelessness in BC, and the increasing degree of inequality in our province. Some of us struggle with poverty every day, others know poverty and homelessness through friends and family who are affected by these realities, and all are committed advocates for social justice. What unites us is our understanding that rampant inequality generates significant harm to individuals and communities, and undermines social health and well-being.
As the owner of one of the most expensive homes in Vancouver, you occupy the opposite end of the economic spectrum from us. Those on income assistance receive $375 for monthly rent, and the Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotel rooms available at that rate are mostly unfit for healthy human habitation (10’x10’ rooms without washrooms or kitchens and infested with bedbugs, cockroaches and mice). By contrast, your $31 million home has extravagant space (45,000 sq ft) and luxurious amenities (swimming pool, squash courts, etc.) for you and your family, far beyond what most families in the city or province would consider reasonable, adequate housing.
We are here today to highlight this immense inequality, and to call on you to publicly support the demands we have put forward. These demands call on the provincial and federal governments to raise welfare rates, end the barriers to receiving income assistance, increase minimum wage, build 2000 units of social housing per year in BC, replace the SRO housing stock in the Downtown Eastside with new units of social housing, and increase taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals. We ask you to contact the provincial and federal ministers of finance, housing and income assistance to assert your support of these demands.
Implementing such policies would significantly reduce poverty and homelessness in our province, and improve the lives of those most afflicted by the deprivation of basic necessities; it would also make our communities stronger and healthier for all. As recent studies have shown, rampant economic inequality has widespread negative social impacts. Life expectancy, homicide rates, drug abuse, child well-being, levels of trust, involvement in community life, mental illness, teenage birth rates, children’s math and literacy scores, the proportion of the population in prison, prevalence of racism, sexism and homophobia, and voter turnout are all worse in countries with greater inequality than those with more equality.
We invite you to add your voice and energy to this call for greater economic equality and the elimination of poverty and homelessness in our province. We do not seek charity but true justice in the political, social and economic structures of our collective lives.