203rd DTES Street Market and 17th Street Market of 2014

203rd DTES Street Market and 17th Street Market of 2014

Roland Clarke, Coordinator of the DTES Street Market says:

It was the 203rd consecutive market held at Pigeon Park on Sunday.

Only 5 more Sundays to celebrate 4 years at Pigeon Park.

It was a good day. The weather was not perfect, a smattering of rain, and a few good periods of sun light.

I can’t help but reflect on the fact that the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count was just released, and the number of homeless in the area is now at record levels.

Over 1,100 people now sleeping in shelters, and over 500 counted sleeping on the streets.


The DTES Street Market at Pigeon Park is one of the ways that a low income person can supplement their income assistance and earn the extra $200 a month that can be used to pay for an SRO room that is gentrifying.
My SRO room is now renting at $565 per month.
This means that I have to make an additional $175 per month just to maintain my housing.

Most of the SRO’s in the Downtown Eastside now rent at well above the Provincial Shelter allowance of $375. This means that people with multiple barriers to employment must find this extra money by any means necessary or become part of the tragic homelessness statistics.

The more barriers that are put up in the face of more and more affordable housing, the higher the homeless count will be. This is obvious to anyone.

This seems like a very bad time for the City of Vancouver to remove this opportunity from the low income population and move the DTES Street Market into the very small lot at 62 East Hastings St.

We have over 400 vendors that regularly rely on the market, and at least 1,000 low income residents in total that occasionally use the market. Without a viable market location, many of these people would be made homeless. This time, the homelessness would be directly caused by a City of Vancouver policy to move the market rapidly to 62 East Hastings without doing any studies on the dramatic impact this would have on our vendors.

Despite the repeated calls to move our Street Market to 62 East Hastings, the market continues at Pigeon Park – where we have been for almost 4 years, and where we want to stay until a permanent location is found.

The drinker that caused us lots of trouble last week was out of jail and back at the market today – volunteers noticed him at 9:30am. We kept an eye on him, and there were no further incidents with this person for the rest of the day.

We had a group visit us and give away clothing – DOZE.
Not sure what the acronym stands for, but they told us that their tag line was “connecting people with community”.
There were about 8 volunteers that seemed really happy about giving away clothing.
The trouble is that we have many vendors at our market that attempt to make money by selling clothing. It seems that basic economics is not really in the mindset of the standard charity, and we had to explain to them that they were killing the economy that we were trying to nurture.
I think that they understood and said that they would try something different in the future.

A community safety officer walked through the park at about 4:28pm. Not sure where she was going or why she was there, but it was good to see.

One of the solutions that we are looking at for Pigeon Park is for community safety officers to patrol the area instead of police. This would be quite a bit cheaper, and also would be more welcomed by the vendors.


0 DTES Street Market Sun Apr 27 2014

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