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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.”

Alley Health Fair 2011 on 100 Block Hastings in Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES)

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

A celebration of healthy living and nutrition in the Downtown Eastside, from hair cuts to HIV testing, from blood pressure to pedal-powered smoothies

The Alley Health Fair wants to increase awareness of healthy living possibilities among DTES residents. Be sure to visit them on Thursday, Sept 15 10AM-2PM

Alley Health Fair

100 Block East Hastings

Food, Acupuncture,  Massage, Smoothies, Giveaways, Health Info and Testing!

W2TV: Solidarity Notes Choir – Women’s Housing March and GentriFUCation Tour

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

5th ANNUAL WOMEN’S HOUSING MARCH
***************************************

Sat. Sep 17 @ 1:30 pm
Starts at Cordova and Columbia, just west of Main St.
Unceded Coast Salish Territories

On Saturday Sep 17 at 1:30 pm, join the Downtown Eastside Women Centre Power of Women Group* in the 5th Annual March for Women’s Housing and March Against Poverty.

We invite groups to bring their banners and anything else for our festive march and ‘GentriFucation Tour’. All genders are welcome and celebrated. Please bring your drums and regalia. This march is child-friendly and there will be a rest-vehicle for elders. Spread the word!

This year, we celebrate the recent victory that has forced the provincial government to commit funding to a 24-hour low barrier shelter for women as a result of our collective efforts. We also continue to march for:
– Social Housing, Childcare, and Healthcare for all!
– No more Evictions and No more Gentrification in the Downtown Eastside!
– Stop Criminalizing the Poor!

Email: project@dewc.ca or Phone: 778 885 0040

Video by Sid Tan of W2TV

DVD Release of With Glowing Hearts the Movie in Vancouver!!!!!

With Glowing Hearts is a documentary about social media creating social change filmed during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver

See the new trailer for our recently completed Feature Length Documentary Film. An intimate and inspiring portrait of social media for social change. This is the #van2010 Winter Olympics social media story.





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

AHA MEDIA visit inside Cardero Street Shelter at 747 Cardero 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 Cardero Street Shelter on 747 Cardero St in Vancouver that is due to be closed down on Wednesday April 27, 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