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Gentrification, affordable housing and homelessness in Vancouver's DTES

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Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Nathan Crompton in The Mainlander wrote:
Critiques have been made here,

I wrote this piece. And this is a perfect example of the way the DTES is represented. This fucking insuting "token" system from Mark Brand is hailed throughout the province for solving the "dilemma" (Brand's word) of middle-class liberals who are convinced that if they give money to panhandlers it is going directly to drugs or alcohol. What's missing from this story (and which Crompton makes clear in his article) is that Brand actually ownsseven restaurants in the DTES, and only one of them pretends to have a social agenda. There is no access to healthy food (or means to cook it) in the DTES, and the people responsible for this are the gentrifying developers and entrepreneurs -- people like Brand. So the chutzpah he exhibits by "solving" the problem for which he is responsible with a paternalistic, insulting and self-serving profit measure is galling.

 


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

..yes broken lagatta but not any more broken than the rest of society. forsaken is a better adjective i wouldn't hesitate to use. yet within this community there is a robust struggle to survive. compare it to what is going on in greece.

..mostly i take my lead though from the dtes council and other groups active in the community. i have provide a body to this resistance since 2008.

https://dnchome.wordpress.com/

..my own analysis is that the crisis has intensified since the olympics. it was an ndp prov gov that decided to make the bid and vision, an ndp/green municipal alliance, that supported it through out. this has increased debt in the province and vancouver where now a shock doctrine is being implemented. the crisis in capitalism is at play as well as the need for growth devours everything it can. the dtes community could not look to the so called left for anything but more grief disguised in caring words.

..occupy vancouver offered an alternative. many of the residents of tent city were homeless. support for drug addicts, the homeless and the hungry was developed in the short time of it's existence. people were empowered and they began speaking to politicians whenever those politicians spoke in public. it was effective. it also challenged the labour movement who's ineffective response to the neoliberal cuts and attacks was vote ndp. both vision and the bc fed worked to discredit and crush the occupy.

..today i see hope in the pipeline resistance. the thinking there is direct democracy with little reliance on electoral politics. with the coming together of the indigenous and other activist communities it can't help but bring greater support to the dtes.


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

Oh, I certainly agree with that. (and I knew it wasn't the poorest postal code in Canada). But isn't it true that many of the residents are deeply lumpenized, or is that just a fabrication of the gentrifiers? 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

I'm not a fan of the term lumpenproletariat, and certainly we are encouraged to think of DTES residents as the detritus of society, but from what I've seen, it's not the case anyway. DTES residents probably volunteer more than any middle-class liberal with an eye for charity. All of the great community centres in the DTES -- Carnegie, the Women's Centre, The Gathering Place, et al. -- are volunteer-run almost entirely by residents. It's extraordinary.


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

Zones Of Exclusion: Where poor people are not welcome in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver


Gentrification is a serious threat to the community of the Downtown Eastside.

The construction of new market housing and the substantial influx of more affluent renters and homeowners will bring about the displacement of the diverse low-income residents of this neighborhood and the destruction of its many wonderful strengths.

Gentrification not only forces people out of the neighborhood through increasing land value and higher rents, it also produces a kind of internal displacement for low-income residents by creating zones of exclusion.

• Zones of exclusion are spaces where people are unable to enter because they lack the necessary economic means for participation. As wealthier people move into the neighborhood, more spaces are devoted to offering amenities that cater to them. Grocery stores, banks, coffee shops, restaurants, salons, various retail stores, night clubs, stylish pubs, etc. begin to appear throughout the neighborhood, and are priced beyond what people on fixed low income can afford. These sites become zones of exclusion.

• There is another sense in which such places are zones of exclusion. Whenever land is used to build condos or develop businesses for wealthier people, it is removed or excluded from use by the community; it not longer becomes a place where a local community-based vision can be implemented. In this sense, gentrification excludes possibilities.

• Zones of exclusion also become sites marked by increased surveillance and policing. Strategies of control and punishment are implemented at these sites in order to protect them from the presence of unwanted people and from potential disruption. Only those with status, privilege and wealth can enter; all others are watched, carefully interrogated, and criminalized.

As gentrification produces more and more zones of exclusion, low-income residents become alienated from their own community. It is the experience of internal displacement – the feeling of being out of place in one’s own neighborhood.

This site tracks just some of the zones of exclusion that have appeared in Chinatown over the last few years.


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

I do hope none of you think I favour gentrification or kicking low-income people (however troubled) out of their homes. I'm an old tenants' rights activist.  I just had the suspicion that, in order to counter the gentrifiers' tarring of local residents, some community spokespersons were painting too glowing a picture of what appears (and not only in the bourgeois press or realtors' mendacious blogs) as a deeply troubled area. 


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

..i didn't think so lagatta and i'm sure no one else did. i thank you for raising your questions. we need to talk more about this growing reality and maybe agree that an injury to one is an injury to all. i feel we know this..the song seems to think everybody knows. what europe has taught me/us is that things don't have to get worse before we begin to turn our full attention to who and what is coming at us. and then physically get involved on the street to block and maybe make change. this is the most positive thing that i can think of on the subject and let the future take care of itself. my little speach.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

lagatta, of course not! One of the things I have longest admired about you (and learned from over the years) is your longstanding courage in the fight for tenant rights. It's true that the DTES is embattled and faces many challenges -- but I think from an activist prespective we need only look at the scumbag developers, police and politicians who have targeted this area for profit to know which side to back. The fact is that none of these challenges can be faced until the neighbourhood is safe: not addiction, not sex work, not disability. I haven't seen gentrification wielded as so vile a weapon in any city I'm familiar with (not a long list, to be sure!)


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

The story behind The Waldorf’s displacement from the Hastings Corridor

In late October 2011 the Globe and Mail published an article celebrating the revitalized hotel’s one year anniversary, calling it “Vancouver’s cultural oasis in the middle of nowhere.” In one sentence, the article both erased already-existing cultural spaces a short walk away from the Waldorf (Cedar Root Gallery, The Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society, LES Gallery, The Purple Thistle Centre for Arts & Activism, The Dogwood Center for Socialist Education, to name a few), while contributing to a key aspect of gentrification discourse: the notion that nothing of value exists here anyhow.

Today, with news of the sale to Solterra, the ‘nowhere’ narrative continues as supporters begin a petition that decries the onslaught of condo-development, since it means losing the Waldorf. The petition celebrates the establishment of this “cultural oasis in the middle of nowhere” while also quoting Vancouver’s mainstream poor-bashing magazine, Scout. Low-income people are of course the “nobody” in the middle of this DTES “nowhere,” and the petition seems to suggest that the battle plan for a rescued Waldorf is to strike a new deal with Vision and city hall, rather than forge new alliances with the same people (renters) being evicted by the same developer (Solterra) in the same neighborhood (DTES).


Kaspar Hauser
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Joined: Aug 15 2004

This beggars the imagination. Vision--the party that's in bed with the provincial NDP and the trade unions--is raising the fine for sleeping on the streets from $2,000 to $10,000.  Maggots have a better chance of getting into heaven than the people responsible for this cruelty.

http://www.straight.com/news/341356/higher-fines-could-hit-vancouvers-homeless-hard


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

Not just cruelty - utter absurdity. Like the famous French law forbidding rich and poor to sleep under bridges. 


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

City of Vancouver Seeks to Quintuple Fines A Sorry "Legacy" of the 2010 Winter Olympics

At a public hearing on the evening of 15 January 2013, Vancouver City Council seems destined to approve a broad regime of maximum by-law fines of $10,000. In most cases the ceiling will rise by a multiple of five — up from $2000 to $10,000. Forty-two separate by-laws would be affected.

What the Report to Council conveniently fuzzes away is the perfidious and complex history of the 2009 change to the Vancouver Charter that makes this move possible in the present.

The main purpose of this examination of the circumstances is to expose the backstory and to highlight the potential use of this fines mechanism for political repression....

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/city-vancouver-seeks-quintuple-fines...


onlinediscountanvils
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

Catchfire wrote:
DTES residents probably volunteer more than any middle-class liberal with an eye for charity.

Just wanted to highlight this point that often gets overlooked.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

How do they figure a homeless person would pay such a fine?


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Well, the fines were already $2000, so from a certain point of view, the new fines just further underline the absurdity of the policy in the first place.


Bacchus
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Joined: Dec 8 2003

Michelle wrote:

How do they figure a homeless person would pay such a fine?

If you cant pay when the fine is levied, you are remanded into custody for X number of days to equal the fine amount and thus, they get off the streets. Into jail but off the streets which was their aim Im guessing


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

Not only sleeping under 19th-century Parisian bridges (Les misérables...) but debtors' prisons!


Bacchus
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Joined: Dec 8 2003

Well we have always had debtors prison in a way. Not for civil debt but for criminal fines. Anyone who cannot (or will not) pay a fine goes to jail for a det time to equal that fine. Like for a parking tickets its 3 days which is fine if you are in any province but Quebec where if you have a lot of tickets the three days are added up consecutively. They had one guy go away for 3-5 years based on unpaid parking tickets


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

Michelle wrote:

How do they figure a homeless person would pay such a fine?

..i'll try and find the article i once read that spoke of folks on the dtes not going to jail for not paying fines. they are left on the street where the fines compound and at any time they can be arrested. this has led to the manipulation/abuse of people by police.


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

The Trouble with Tickets: Downtown Eastside vendors taken to court for unpaid tickets

Last January, Downtown Eastside resident Edie was selling second-hand clothes and jewelry on East Hastings St. when she was approached by three Vancouver police officers. The officers told her that she could either accept a ticket for illegally vending, which comes with a $250 fine, or have her goods confiscated. Since there was jewelry she didn’t want to lose, Edie opted for the ticket. But when the police ran a check on her name, they told her they had “some good news and some bad news”. The good news was that she wasn’t going to get a ticket. The bad news was that she was going to jail....


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Just announced on twitter: 3 bylaws challenged: City Land Use Regulation; Street/Traffic; Street Vending bylaw. City not proceeding with proposed changes #vanpoli


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

Save on Meats Gentrifier Pulled From BC Federation of Labour Convention

Shockingly Mark Brand, owner of the new Save On Meats and poster child of gentrification, was listed as a keynote speaker at the Young Worker’s Conference on the opening night of the BC Federation of Labour convention.

Harsha Walia, coordinator of the DTES Power of Women group, responded. She wrote to the federation, contacted other speakers invited to the convention and prominent unionists, and made a pitch for Brand’s invitation to be withdrawn. The result? Some major unions threatened to walk out if Brand took the stage and the other keynote speaker, Bridgette DePape, the page who famously held up the “Stop Harper” sign in parliament, refused to share a stage with Brand. Finally the BC Fed organizers quietly withdrew Brand’s invitation.

The letter included below was sent by Harsha to the BC Federation of Labour convention organizers. The result shows how low-income organizing campaigns can make a difference....


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

Stand for Social Housing Every Week With People Across BC

quote:

Stands are happening in the DTES at three locations already: Hastings and Abbott, Hastings and Main, and Hastings and Princess.

The Social Housing Coalition BC demands immediate provincial government housing action to fight back against the housing crisis in BC:

1. Build 10,000 units of good quality social housing per year.

2. Prioritize social housing units for Indigenous Peoples, migrants, women, seniors, people with disabilities, and vulnerable low-income people who are disproportionately at risk of homelessness and hidden homelessness.

3. Save existing low rent housing by enforcing maintenance standards; maintain non-market projects whose operating agreements are expiring; freeze rents & don’t allow increased rents when tenants move; and close loopholes in the Residential Tenancy Act to stop renovictions.

4. Protect tenants. Recognize tenant unions and their power to negotiate with landlords; make all supportive & student housing fully covered by the Residential Tenancy Act.

5. Include everyone who needs housing. End eligibility discrimination and make all BC residents eligible for BC Housing. Extend housing rights to temporary migrant workers by granting them permanent legal status.


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

“Public outrage” causes city to postpone $10,000 fine for homelessness

quote:
The stated reason for the postponement was that the PIVOT Legal Society has launched a court challenge against the existing $2,000 fines for homelessness. The court challenge did not arise at the last minute, however, and has been ongoing since November of last year. Councillors were in full knowledge of this legal challenge (and others), as well as the impacts of the legislation on the poor and on civil liberties, when on November 28 2012 they approved the new fines in principle and asked the city’s lawyers to draft the bylaws, to be voted upon after yesterday’s public hearing. The impacts of the proposed bylaws were also discussed in recent newspaper articles, including one in the Straight on January 9th entitled “Higher fines could hit Vancouver’s homeless hard.” Nevertheless, Vision felt the new bylaws were ready to come to a vote, and made no attempt to incorporate exceptions into the bylaws for homeless people or those who cannot afford $10,000 fines....


epaulo13
Online
Joined: Dec 13 2009

Anti-poverty activists call out Adrian Dix, demand a commitment to increase unlivable welfare rates

This morning, anti-poverty activists protested inside NDP leader Adrian Dix’s office in the Joyce-Collingwood neighbourhood of Vancouver. They say that the NDP has yet to make a commitment to decreasing poverty in British Columbia. Recent research has shown that British Columbia is among the most unequal provinces in the country.....


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

p-feb5_poster_big


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

I will be there, I hope!


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

CFP: Rent Assembly

In the struggle for housing in Vancouver, we tend to highlight issues such as social housing, SROs, gentrification, and affordability. But what about rent as such? The act of renting occurs between those who own, and those who do not. It is parasitic, a way of extracting any remaining surplus value from non-owners. Renting is a historically produced, not-inevitable practice that has become ideologically naturalised as being ordinary and unquestionable. It is a feeling of burden and fatigue, keeping us chained to our jobs, and offering us little time for mustering up a resistance. It is invisible, and if we are to stop paying for the catastrophic damage to our own daily lives, rent must be made visible.

The Rent Assembly will be a gathering for those who are not among Vancouver’s ‘players’ in the housing market. Many of us will never own property. We will always have to worry about our homes being sold out from under us, about being renovicted, evicted or rents inflating beyond liveability. Workers will continue to spend more of their paycheques on housing, leaving less for their families and their futures. Cultural producers will find it increasingly impossible to exist here, and will contend with their spaces and neighbourhoods being exploited by developers. Housing choices will largely be determined by the prejudices of property managers and landlords who, unlike most, can afford to say “no.”

Two centuries after Adam Smith denounced land rent as an illegitimate form of accumulation, the seemingly passé 19th Century question of land ownership and rent extraction has returned in force. In today’s Vancouver, social movements are attacking the basic landed relations of the city, including the upsurge of Indigenous resistance to colonial land policies through the emergence of ‘Defenders of the Land’, and the more recent Idle No More; marginal squatters movements; critiques of the modern nation-state from migrant justice movements; and the recent formation of the Vancouver Renter’s Union.

We must understand the relationships between renters, the history of rent, and cultivate new ties between disparate groups of renters. To this end, the Rent Assembly will be an informal three-day conference and will take the form of a series of events, happenings and performances at various locations throughout the city.

 


epaulo13
Online
Joined: Dec 13 2009

Tuesday evening at the downtown VPL, unceded C.S.T. People gathering in the Alice MacKay room to discuss how social housing will be put back on the polital map and how to ensure action is taken to provide the basic right of shelter to all people of BC chant at the start of the evening of speakers.

Phoenix Winter @ Social Housing Now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlW62k0naxk&list=UUXVvxLkc_m7IzXoDn8tl8z...

Seth Klein CCPA @ Social Housing Now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYLw8KQr7VQ&list=UUXVvxLkc_m7IzXoDn8tl8z...

 

Housing advocates demand B.C. election commitments

B.C. has a housing “crisis” and political parties must make clear their solutions before May’s provincial election, a newly formed collection of housing advocates said.

On Monday, the Social Housing Coalition BC issued a list of demands, including the construction of 10,000 new units annually, during a press conference at the Carnegie Community Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Other demands by the advocacy group included protecting the existing inventory of social housing from higher rents, eroding conditions and expiring operating agreements.

The coalition likened the situation to an “iceberg” and demanded recognition of tenant unions, housing rights for temporary migrant workers and taxation to fund new social housing.

Coalition member Ivan Drury said Victoria has done little on the issue of social housing, with politicians mostly recycling project announcements.

“There’s a shell game around the construction of social housing.”

The government is currently renovating 13 single-occupancy residential hotels in Vancouver, but Drury said the rooms would not be expanded in size or include bathrooms or kitchens.

“So they’re remaining tiny, squalid rooms in insecure buildings,” he said. “It’s absurd to count them as new social housing.”

Housing minister Rich Coleman and NDP opposition critic Joe Trasolini were unavailable for comment by the 24 hours deadline.

http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/02/04/housing-advocates-demand-bc-electio...

 

 


epaulo13
Online
Joined: Dec 13 2009

CCAP bulletin of EVENTS and actions

Hello CCAP members and friends,

It appears that February is going to be a very busy month… take a look at the schedule of events and actions coming up and you’ll get a hint. We need your help to get through it and get ready to advocate for low-income and working people in the coming provincial election.

Take a look at these campaigns and events and see if there’s some way you can help out. Come to the big social housing coalition launch event on Tuesday February 5th, volunteer to call around to your own friends and contacts or to get a list of names to call to mobilize, come to a news conference, join a campaign meeting, host a STAND FOR HOUSING in your community, come to a LAPP event and argue for the city to act to defend the low-income community against gentrification… there’s lots of space for your involvement....


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