Homeless in Vancouver

December 12, 2006

Wendy Pedersen would like to reach people who want to get together to work on solutions to the problem of homelessness in the city. She recently sent a message about this to Tasha, and that message is included later in this post. If you would like Wendy to contact you directly, please leave a comment. The message from Tasha follows.

Hi Tasha,

The 14th is an issue for everyone concerned about homelessness. The City of Vancouver has a Homeless Action Plan, that can be found on their website. It was adopted by the previous council and is supported pretty much by most to be the best we could possibly hope for. The NPA are afraid to alienate the development community and are not following through with it. The meeting on the 14th is a small piece of the overall pie – staff are making some recommendations to strengthen (very slightly) an already weak by-law that protects SRO hotels from conversion to condos….we’re going to say that this is not enough, we need to have a bigger demolition fee on each unit (right now, the fee is $5000 a unit that goes into a fund to create social housing, staff are recommending $15,000, and we are recommending $50,000 or better yet, an all out moratorium – to discourage conversion to condos). Until 5000 replacement or upgraded units of decent affordable social housing is built and 2000 units for homeless in Vancouver, we must try to stop all development – or people will be displaced to the street. On another but related topic, city council is planning a no sit, no lie down by-law and to remove all the dumpsters from Vancouver. And they are going to take Olympic community development money and use it for shelters for everyone during the Olympics. And as all these changes go into effect, they have plans for permanent 10×10 cube rooms to house “the transient”. The NPA described them as similar to cruise ship size. But in effect they are shelters and not homes. By law, zoos have larger spaces for guerillas that this.

So that’s it in a nutshell, although there are links to reports and other angles to this that I am helping to prepare to send out to friends late Monday.

We need to find people who are concerned about homelessness in Vancouver and who are open to this analysis – who can self identify as concerned citizens from other parts of Vancouver, or as a business person etc – to help us develop a campaign to help preserve and improve existing low income housing and create new units. The Olympics, as bad as it looks for poor people, can be the opportunity.

Please send this off to people who you think would be sympathetic and be interested to develop their analysis around this issue and have some extra energy to spare to take some action. It could be a very engaging, creative and inspiring process for people from outside this neighbourhood to be involved. As it stands now, we”re thinking of a lobbying campaign (with wide sectoral representation), a media campaign and some creative actions, i.e., some are thinking of creating a website that pops up on google as soon as someone types in Vancouver Olympics….maybe with the home of the homeless to pressure all levels of government to get involved. I’ve lost contact info to the BPF group, but Heather might be interested in particular. If you have her contact info, could you pass it to me?

I know you and Miguel are busy, but maybe this is the time for something new, and if it is, let me know.

Till soon,

Wendy

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2 Responses to “Homeless in Vancouver”

  1. vancouverbpf Says:

    I would like Wendy to contact me.

  2. vancouverbpf Says:

    That last comment was an example. You need say no more than that, and your email address will be sent to Wendy. Please do not include your email address in the text of your comment.


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