Gentrification, affordable housing and homelessness in Vancouver's DTES

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture

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

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

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other speakers invited to the convention and prominent unionists, and made a pitch for Brand’s invitation to be withdrawn.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 epaulo13's picture

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 epaulo13's picture

“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 epaulo13's picture

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 epaulo13's picture

p-feb5_poster_big

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I will be there, I hope!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

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 epaulo13's picture

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 epaulo13's picture

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....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Do we want a Social Justice Zone in the Downtown Eastside?

quote:

Working definition of a Social Justice Zone:

  • A place where low income and vulnerable people have a right to be and won’t be pushed out;
  • A place where low income residents are recognized as the experts in matters that affect them and have control over decisions, services and operations that affect them;
  • A place where low income people and their basic human and social needs have priority over profit;
  • A place where residents work for social justice.

https://ccapvancouver.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/social-justice-zone-heart.jpg

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Love this idea, epaulo13! Jean Swanson is a legend.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Catchfire wrote:

Love this idea, epaulo13! Jean Swanson is a legend.

..i remember working with jean more than 20 years ago while with cupw and she with end legislative poverty. an amazing woman that has never let up for a second.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Vancouver misses housing goals: ‘Report Card’ gives A+ for privatization and deregulation of housing

This week the City has released a Report Card evaluating its progress on housing and homelessness. The Report Card gives an A+ to Vision councillors, praised by the Mayor for “exceeding all of the City’s short-term targets.” A brief look at the report confirms that the city is on track to continue the privatization and deregulation of Vancouver’s affordable housing.

Vancouver critics like David Eby have long challenged the practice of police investigating police. The multi-million dollar public relations effort of bodies like BC Housing and the City of Vancouver, however, has not faced the same level of criticism. Like a police force that exonerates itself after an internal investigation, Vision Vancouver is issuing its own “Report Card” in order to escape unscathed from five years of a failed housing and homelessness strategy....

http://themainlander.com/2013/02/13/vancouver-misses-housing-goals-repor...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

City ignoring displacement of low-income residents in Chinatown

Chinatown is on the verge of getting more condos than Woodward’s while the city does nothing to stop displacement of low-income residents.  On February 21 a rezoning proposal for 145 market condos in a 17-storey tower at 611 Main is going to Council.  On Feb. 27 another rezoning proposal for another tower with 188 market condos is going to another public hearing....

189_611_633main gentrification forces in Chinatown

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Raise the Rates visits NDP leader’s office

A delegation of twenty people from Raise the Rates told the NDP that they want an immediate commitment to increasing welfare rates.  The group delivered this message by hand to Adrian Dix’s office.

A year ago today Jagrup Brar, NDP MLA for Surrey Fleetwood, completed his month of living on the welfare rate of $610. Brar found he could not live on welfare; he lost 26 pounds in weight. A year later welfare rates have not changed and people still cannot live on $610. The letter called on Adrian Dix and the NDP to make a clear commitment to increase welfare rates substantially....

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

New coalition forms to campaign for affordable housing in B.C.

On Feb 5, over a hundred people rallied inside the Vancouver Public Library to launch a new grassroots campaign to fight for social housing for the vulnerably housed and homeless in B.C. Cecily Nicholson is a long-time community organizer in the Downtown Eastside. Connor Donnegan is an activist with the Vancouver Renters Union.

http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/redeye/2013/02/new-coalition-forms-campa...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Pidgin packed - outside

DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE - Protests against gentrification continued tonight outside the Pidgin Restaurant across from Pigeon Park.

Organizers were concerned  after Vancouver Police tactics escalated today with police harassing people in the Carnegie Community Centre for information about one of the protesters and parking beside the protest with their lights flashing.

Two cruisers were on hand, but so were several media.

..see pics

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/photo/pidgin-packed-outside/16429

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Speak Out Against Condos at 611 Main St

6:00pm

Thursday February 21 2013

Venue: Vancouver City Hall

Address: 453 W 12th Ave

Following the Historic Area Height Review for Chinatown passed at City Council in 2011 there has been an onslaught of condo development proposed and approved along and around the Main Street corridor. The 17-storey condo tower proposal at 611 Main is the first really major development. It could have terrible gentrifying effects on the low-income housing and assets surrounding blocks.

Come to city hall to speak out against this rezoning proposal and demand council protect the existing low-income community. To sign up to speak call or email the city clerk and leave your name and contact information: publichearing@vancouver.ca

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

SOCIAL HOUSING NOW! UNITED WE STAND!

Saturday March 2, 2013
Noon - 1pm
Vancouver Art Gallery, Robson Street
(750 Hornby St. Vancouver)

Taking place on unceded Coast Salish Territory: the traditional territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueum, and Skwxwú7mesh/Squamish nations.

On Saturday March 2, the Social Housing Coalition of BC will STAND united in Vancouver and demand that social housing be a central issue in the coming BC provincial election. The rally will gather all the STANDs and their supporters from across Metro Vancouver as a sign of unity and support for a comprehensive solution to BC’s housing crisis. Grab your “Social Housing Now” banners, come show your support and join the rally on the Robson Street side of the Vancouver Art Gallery!

Shortly after noon, the rally will take to the streets and march through downtown. This united, roving STAND for Social Housing will end at 1pm at the Vancouver Public Library (350 W Georgia St). The rally and march will be the second major mobilization of the social housing campaign to change the discussion about the housing crisis in BC and influence the platforms of the major parties running for the election in May.

Come to get involved in the fight for social housing.

Start and end locations of the event are close to mass transit (Skytrain stations and important bus routes).

Organized by Social Housing Coalition BC

web: http://socialhousingbc.com/
fb: https://www.facebook.com/socialhousingcoalitionbc
twitter: @stand4housing
email: info@socialhousingbc.com

NorthReport

Forv 50 years or more we have been throwing money at the DTES and it has not worked. It is a blight on our community. It is time for some new ideas to solve problems there.

I have a lot of respect for Kerry Jang, and thank goodness we have people like him at City Hall

And it is ridiculous to protest the new restaurant

'Upscaling' of DTES Eroding Low Income Housing: Report

Carnegie Community Action Project's conclusions disputed by Vision councillor Jang.

 

But the report's findings were questioned by City Councillor Kerry Jang, Vision Vancouver's point person on housing issues.

"Who's been displaced?" Jang asked, when approached for comment on the survey. "Any new development being built is in buildings that were warehouses or empty to start with. Where's the displacement?

"I just don't buy that. It's a very extreme, one-sided perspective of [CCAP], for 100 per cent social housing only. It makes no sense; 100 per cent of any type of housing doesn't work, either rich or poor."

Jang said that the City has, in fact, purchased several buildings -- as well as requiring developers to include affordable units in their plans -- and he argued that the conditions of SROs are improving as the province buys and renovates buildings. He added that an inventory of housing conducted by the City disputes CCAP's claims of displacement.

"There has been no loss in housing in the Downtown Eastside," he said. "In fact, it's increased, and there are several hundred units on the way, of both social and supportive housing.

"I disagree with [CCAP] on so many levels... The Carnegie [Community Action Project] has always been very strident against anybody living in the Downtown Eastside unless they are poor. They've made it clear to me they want a 100 per cent low-income neighbourhood that is subsidized forever. But mixed communities work best -- mixed buildings, mixed communities, mixed neighbourhoods. We're beginning to see that change in the Downtown Eastside... There's no longer this class warfare that's gone on too long -- and ghettoized the neighbourhood."

http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/02/21/DTES-Upscaling/

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The lesson from Woodward’s is that condos in Chinatown are a low-income extinguishment project

Ivan Drury’s presentation to city council against the rezoning proposal at 611 Main

I’m speaking against the rezoning application

I want to acknowledge the unceded territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish nations. In 1913 city council passed a bylaw outlawing “Indian camps” in the city limits and the major Musqueam village Snauq was displaced by barge. No doubt a lot of the language used to justify the displacement of Snauq exactly 100 years ago is deja vu’d in the coming great displacement of our time, what Clr. Jang called the “deliberate policy of our council to make [the DTES] a mixed community”. And no doubt that language of justification was used in council chambers, in the media, and at the respectable beer parlours or whatever passed for twitter in those days, all enforcing each other into a chorus so loud it appeared to be consensus and so ubiquitous it appeared to be true. But they were wrong; with the benefit of 100-years of hindsight and different social consensuses and truths we can see that now.

But isn’t that hyperbole? It’s one thing to displace an entire Musqueam village by decree to engineer white settlement, it’s another to revitalize the DTES. Whether that’s true or not hinges on the question of what SOCIAL MIX is.

Social mix is city-planning philosophy in the Downtown Eastside. Speaking as someone who engages with DTES city planners constantly and who reads and pays attention to every planning report drafted about the DTES, social mix seems to be THE planning philosophy for the DTES. In what other neighbourhood is changing it and the people who live in it the primary purpose behind every single plan and development directive? Clr. Jang’s quote from the Sun yesterday summarizes this fixation perfectly: “It’s not gentrification, it is the deliberate policy of our council to make it a mixed community.” As though that were not gentrification....

lagatta

I'm a long-term housing activist, and know how la mixité urbaine as we call it here is a cover for gentrification and removal of low-income and "undesirable" residents.

That said, I agree that big developments with 100% social housing for the very poor and problematic is a recipe for disaster. (In many countries, social housing is not only for the unemployed and unemployable- many workers with limited income are entitled to it too, and that should certainly be the case in Vancouver where many employed people find it extremely hard to rent or buy a flat).

As housing activists, we call for as much social housing as we possibly can, as the offer is so limited. I doubt most of the DTES activists really think they will achieve 100% everywhere.

Mixity has to require social housing in more prosperous neighbourhoods as well. Such housing is found in many European cities, but it remains fragile as a "pro-business" right wing government on any level is likely to want to privatize it.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..here are the demands from of the coalition. nowhere does it mention "100 per cent low-income neighbourhood that is subsidized forever" mentioned by vision council member jang. he's making mischief as far as i can tell.

Our Demands We demand immediate provincial government housing action to solve 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 mental health and physical disabilities including HIV/AIDs, 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.
  6. Fund social housing through taxation as a social responsibility of the government, and support residents of communities to develop and manage their social housing themselves.

Housing Crisis Solutions

Housing is the number one determinant of health and a fundamental necessity for individual and social well-being. Being homeless or living on the precipice of homelessness in unsafe, inadequate and insecure housing erodes physical and mental health and undermines human flourishing. Private market housing cannot address this immense need; the provincial government must take action and commit to a social housing strategy that will meet the crisis head-on.

A commitment of 1% of the provincial GDP (approx. $2 billion) annually would provide the resources for 10,000 units of new social housing each year. Sustained over the course of 12 years, this investment that would create decent and dignified housing for people in need and provide thousands of jobs as well.

In addition, vulnerable populations must be given priority for social housing, existing affordable housing must be protected, and renters supported through implementing rent controls and empowering tenant unions.

Therefore, we are calling on the government of BC to build new social housing, protect and improve already existing social housing, and support renters in their efforts to access safe, affordable and secure housing.

http://www.socialhousingbc.com/our-demands/

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

epaulo13 wrote:
here are the demands from of the coalition. nowhere does it mention "100 per cent low-income neighbourhood that is subsidized forever" mentioned by vision council member jang. he's making mischief as far as i can tell.

Precisely. There is a request for a certain block of houses to be declared inviolate social housing as a contract to stop development which in Vancouver, is occurring at a breathless pace. Honestly, lagatta, unless things have changed in Montreal since I was there last, I think you would be aghast at the breathless pace Vancouver is transforming the DTES. It is astonishing. I have lived here less than five years and there are areas of the city I don't recognize anymore. I would compare St-Henri, Verdun and the East Plateau but at a rate -- and I don't exaggerate -- of maybe five times the time and twice the income difference. I've lived in gentrified communities in three cities and the rate at which I watch this is simply astonishing.

At the same time, the determination and dedication of the resistance is equally breathless. It is inspiring, and should make any resident proud, even Councillor Jang, who disgraces himself with his recent comments. I won't quote from some of the media covering this latest development -- it's taken a turn for the worse -- but the courage with which local activist stand up to such reckless contempt is remarkable.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Social mix is a euphemism for destroying low-income communities. This is a community that fought for – and won – the only safe injection site in North America. This is a community that had to occupy a Police Board meeting in order to get the Police Board to put out the same reward for the missing women that it put out for garage robberies on the Westside. This is a community that had to fight for seven years to get a community centre like other people have. This is a community that had to camp out on a beach for a whole summer in order to get a waterfront park like other communities have. This community has a history of fighting for human rights, and the City destroys that by condo-fying the whole [neighbourhood] and displacing low income people – that will be destroying one of the most valuable assets it has.

–Jean Swanson, Carnegie Community Action Project

lagatta

Catchfire, although it is nothing like Vancouver, you'd be gobsmacked at the march of condofickation here - not just in the Plateau but up here near the Jean-Talon market and surrounding areas - even hardscrabble Park-Ex. We lost our fight to have the former School for the Deaf on St-Laurent remain offices for community groups and to create social housing - it is becoming very upscale condos, with too much underground parking for a place just across the street from a métro station. http://imtl.org/edifices/Institut-des-sourds-et-muets.php http://www.devmcgill.com/condominiumcastelnau/fr/ I'm sure the speculators would like to turn this old red-brick and stone trim Bell Canada building near me into condos... http://imtl.org/image.php?id=7251 There is now a condo building the same height behind it, on St-Laurent.

Saint-Henri, especially near Atwater Market, is also becoming very trendy indeed. Pointe St-Charles too, but the latter has a high share of social housing, which is largely protected from speculation.

There are places in the world where social mix is actually a serious goal, but it is certainly being used as a euphemism and a cover for expelling low-income residents towards places where it will be much harder for them to access services, and work, for those who are employable.

I suppose I should translate that communiqué into French for housing groups here...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Feeding Hungry People More than Loose Change

quote:

Rocky, who struggles with physical health problems, described his struggle: “A lot of the food that I got in the last six months… was out of date and my allergies don’t allow me to have some of the food. Now all I have is a box of macaroni and a bit of rice.”
Stacey, a widowed mother with two children, listed her difficulties in accessing the Food Bank’s charity: “It’s embarrassing, it’s frustrating, [the kids are] hungry, they’re cold and you have to stand there. Half the food you probably won’t even use.”
The food that poor people receive thanks to the dubious kindness of others is barely adequate and in many cases inedible because it is long past expiration. I stood there in the cold and drizzle as story after story poured from the lips of people crying out for dignity. When you line up for hours and are rewarded with a few paltry items which might not satisfy your dietary needs, it makes poverty sting all the more. And all this takes place in a country bursting with surplus wealth. Around this time last year, Canadians had spent $433 million on Christmas gift shopping. And money flows over the heads of the poor and into the coffers of charities who sell their reassurances and sycophantic gratitude for the price of a donation. The Food Bank is a good institution in providing short-term relief. But the problem lies in the fact that it is now being used as a long-term solution, with all the effectiveness of using a pebble as a dam against floodwaters....

http://dtesnhouse.ca/zine/feeding-hungry-people-more-than-loose-change/

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..How can a man wracked with HIV nourish his body with Kraft dinners? How can a mother satisfy the bellies of her clamouring children? “Justice, not charity!” the people yelled. Instead of attempting to bandage poverty, we need to reassess our systems and move towards long-term options that aim to eliminate it completely. Now that’s true charity.

http://dtesnhouse.ca/zine/feeding-hungry-people-more-than-loose-change/

NorthReport

This sounds a bit like a broken record.

People need to see some progress. A lot of people are compasionate, are willing to help at the beginning, but get frustrated when they don't see any progress. Food banks, social assistance and the like should only be used for stop-gap measures, not a lifelong career.

And to some extent be thankful there is a welfare system here at all, as many countries don't have it.

NorthReport

Despite protests, owner of new Vancouver restaurant refuses to leave Downtown Eastside

But the city views the encroachment of trendy businesses into the Downtown Eastside as a good thing.

“I think that if there was true gentrification with displacement, if poorer people were actually leaving their homes for rich people, I’d be in agreement with [the protesters]," Coun. Kerry Jang told the Vancouver Sun. "But that’s not the case.”

Jang noted the city and the B.C. government are working to develop vacant lots and convert buildings such as the demolished Pantages Theatre into affordable housing, and to buy up decrepit flophouses and make them liveable at low rents.

“For me, it’s not so much a case of gentrification but ensuring that our policies don’t ghettoize,” Jang said.

But for poorer residents, the upscale trend means unaffordable condos, $3 doughnuts and expensive coffee, fewer places to gather and socialize or where they even feel welcome.

"Some residents, especially of the SROs, don’t have a lot of community space, so the urban environment itself becomes an important space to have socially," Wes Regan, executive director of the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association, told the Sun.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/despite-protests-owner-vancouve...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..kerry jang is a real pit bull isn't he. a progressive you say?

NorthReport

Never mind the character assassinations - try sticking to the issues. You can thank your lucky stars Vision is governing Vancouver and not NPA.

epaulo13 wrote:

..kerry jang is a real pit bull isn't he. a progressive you say?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Never mind the character assassinations - try sticking to the issues. You can thank your lucky stars Vision is governing Vancouver and not NPA.

epaulo13 wrote:

..kerry jang is a real pit bull isn't he. a progressive you say?

..the dtes is very self organized. you come into the thread attacking their reality. you are the one that didn’t address their concerns. you didn’t stay on topic. you attacked the credibility of an organization with your posts without any proof other than some rantings about gentrification being all big lie.

..this is how you debate an issue?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Don’t displace the soul of Vancouver

Jean Swanson’s presentation to city council against the rezoning proposal at 611 Main

Attitudes about gentrification seem to be getting really polarized. In the DTES low income people can feel their community assets slipping away. These are the assets Wendy and I wrote about in our CCAP vision and mapping project: things like a feeling of belonging, of comfort, of not being judged, of being in a place where you can exist and socialize without money, of valuing caring, empathy, providing sanctuary for people who aren’t welcome in other places, empathizing with those who are suffering—this feeling that its all slipping away has sparked some people in the community to picket the Pigdin restaurant as a symbol of gentrification....

https://ccapvancouver.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/611_js/#more-1990

quote:

The DTES HP says the pace of change in the DTES should be 1-unit of social housing to 1 unit of market housing. But in Chinatown alone, if you let all these condos go through, the pace of change will be 51 market units to 1 welfare rate unit. 51:1. We predict that rents in the 388 units in Chinatown will go up like they have around WW. We predict the stores that serve low income people will get priced out by higher taxes and rents. More $50 haircuts instead of $8 ones. More displacement of low income people. More homelessness. Low income community assets, caring, empathy, being non-judgmental: gone.

MegB

NorthReport wrote:

This sounds a bit like a broken record.

And to some extent be thankful there is a welfare system here at all, as many countries don't have it.

Setting the bar a bit low, aren't we? This is a little like saying to a poverty-wage worker, "you're lucky you have a job at all, when so many others don't."

Social assistance programs in Canada are so flawed that they actually perpetuate the cycle of poverty and despair that they are purported to alleviate. That's not the clients of the system, it's the system itself, one that only the very robust can extricate themselves from. It's a system that beats down and humiliates the most vulnerable, a soulless and callous bureaucracy that works against itself and those it is supposed to serve.

It's not a lifestyle choice. For all but a few it, and food banks, are all that keep them and their children from living on the streets.

JKR

NorthReport wrote:

This sounds a bit like a broken record.

People need to see some progress. A lot of people are compasionate, are willing to help at the beginning, but get frustrated when they don't see any progress. Food banks, social assistance and the like should only be used for stop-gap measures, not a lifelong career.

And to some extent be thankful there is a welfare system here at all, as many countries don't have it.

What is your idea of "progress"?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

It's obvious ain't it? Chin up, pick yourself up by the bootstraps and you'll magically be able to extricate yourself. But no, these people love their "careers", don't you know? You'd almost think there's some private school they get all their lessons at. But no...that'd be the real welfare system in Canada. How about going after the real culprits?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

JKR wrote:
NorthReport wrote:

This sounds a bit like a broken record.

People need to see some progress. A lot of people are compasionate, are willing to help at the beginning, but get frustrated when they don't see any progress. Food banks, social assistance and the like should only be used for stop-gap measures, not a lifelong career.

And to some extent be thankful there is a welfare system here at all, as many countries don't have it.

What is your idea of "progress"?

Being a CEO for Jimmy Pattison

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Picket PiDGiN

Wednesday February 27

Noon to 1 pm  /  6 pm to 7 pm

350 Carrall Street

Feel free to drop by anytime! Allies are asked to commit to one shift per week, so there'll be five of us at each picket. Email picketpidgin@gmail.com if you can take any of these shifts. Pickets can be added or extended as the occasion arises.

JKR

NorthReport wrote:

This sounds a bit like a broken record.

People need to see some progress. A lot of people are compasionate, are willing to help at the beginning, but get frustrated when they don't see any progress. Food banks, social assistance and the like should only be used for stop-gap measures, not a lifelong career.

And to some extent be thankful there is a welfare system here at all, as many countries don't have it.

This sounds like something a Conservative ideologue like Steven Harper or Ezra Levant might say. 

When the BC NDP assumes government, social democrats will be expecting progress, including:

- increased minimum wages
- increased social assistance rates
- increased social housing
- affordable access to post-secondary education
- increased earned income tax credits
- support for proportional representation
- enhanced early childhood development programs
- affordable access to child care
- fair taxation
- better access to health care
etc.....

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

COPE is having their annual general meeting on Sunday, April 7, where they will elect their executive for two-year terms which will take them to the next municipal election. There are two slates, one which supports partnership with Vision and the other, which doesn't. (I strongly support the latter option!) Any babblers who want a say in how COPE is run should come to that meeting and vote. If you're not already a COPE member, you need to join by this Thursday, March 7. 

You can join by heading to their website, downloading and emailing their membership form. The suggested donation is $20, but you can donate whatever you can afford (including 1$).

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

As someone who lives in Burnaby, I have a question for those involved in the fight against gentrification and for social housing in Vancouver.

Why is it that the fight against gentrification and for social housing in this region is framed almost exclusively as a Vancouver fight? It''s not as though gentrification is not happening in other parts of the Greater Vancouver region.

In particular, there are plans afoot to gentrify the entire Maywood neighbourhood of low-rise low-income apartments immediately south of Metrotown. Two towers are already going up in the neighbourhood. One is on the property immediately south of Metrotown skytrain station, which used to be a self-storage facility. The other is next to Maywood Elementary School. The low-income residents of the decrepid low-rise apartment building that previously occupied the site were evicted when it was torn down to make way for the new tower; I have no word of their fate.

A google search for "Burnaby" and "gentrification" turned up zero articles opposing gentrification in Bunaby. In fact, the only result that was related to gentrification in Burnaby was event page for a series of lectures at SFU that appear to have to be pro-gentrification. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Well, it's a good question, and of course there are other hotspots of gentrification in Vancouver as well: Marpole, Kerrisdale, Mount Pleasant, Commercial Drive. The reason the DTES is such a battleground has to do with economic, historical, social and geographical issues. First, it is historically the place where low-income and vulnerable populations in Vancouver have congregated in the highest volume. Second, the income inequality between the traditional residents and the new residents is astronomical and highly visible. Third, there is a long history of committed activism and resistance in the community. And fourth, since it's located downtown, it's highly visible.

Gentrification as the displacement of poor people is happening not only across the Lower Mainland, but across BC (Victoria, Kelowna) and the country. The DTES is a unique place and has spawned a unique response to the challeneges and attacks of gentrification to it. Likewise, I know similar activists across the country who come to homelessness and low-income people the same way I do -- through education programs -- who have adapted a strategy depending on the particular conditions of their socio-economic realities and geography.

I can't speak to Burnaby in particular, and there is a point to be made that DTES is crowding out smaller or less visible struggles, but it's a big fight and it has to be said that there aren't a lot of resources to go around. I don't know what to suggest except to make that kind of point known whenever it's possible or appropriate.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

VANDU and Pivot Allege Discrimination by VPD in By-Law Ticketing

Pivot and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) have filed a complaint against the VPD after it was discovered that 95% of some By-Law offences have been enforced exclusively in the Downtown Eastside. The statistics, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, show that 1448 tickets were given out in the Downtown Eastside under s. 66 of the Street and Traffic Bylaw over the last four years, with the next closest neighbourhood, the Downtown Core, receiving only 28. Residents continue to report widespread use of the Street and Traffic By-Law provisions by VPD, as well as the Street Vending and Health By-Laws."There was general acceptance that the VPD ticketing blitz of 2008/2009 was an abuse of power and totally ineffective, but the VPD is intransigent and continues to target and criminalize people in our neighbourhood with By-Law tickets for vending, jaywalking, public urination/defecation, and expectorating." said Aiyanas Ormond, community worker at VANDU. "These tickets have many negative consequences for people in our community; increasing stress and anxiety among already marginalized people because they have a ticket they cannot hope to pay".

Residents have long said that the fines and warrants which result from By-Law tickets have created a barrier between the VPD and the city's most vulnerable, and Wally Oppal, head of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, recently agreed in his final report.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Catchfire

You are right about many of the differences between the DTES and other areas like Burnaby.  The big one you didn't mention is that the DTES has almost all the SRO's in Metro Vancouver and that helps define it as a unique neighbourhood. 

Burnaby has always had apartment rentals that were cheaper than Vancouver but not many SRO's. The cost of housing is the reason that a Living Wage in Metro Vancouver is now $19.14 while in the Fraser Valley it is only $16.37. How to replace old stock apartments with rentals that people can afford is the real question not whether old buildings need to be replaced.

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

article-photo-credit-Tami-Starlight

Eat the rich: picketers promise to shut down Pidgin

DTES residents and allies from across the city vow to continue picketing Pidgin restaurant at Carrall and Hastings until it packs up and leaves. They aren’t asking for jobs, sympathy or token charitable gestures. Picketers are saying “no” to the incursion of business interests upon low-income homes and livelihoods.

According to DTES resident and picketer Fraser Stuart, “shutting down Pidgin sends a message to all gentrifiers: the DTES is not open for business until our housing needs are met. We need 5,000 new welfare-rate units to meet the need, and they have to go in before any more condos go in.”...

http://themainlander.com/2013/03/04/eat-the-rich-picketers-promise-to-sh...

Real dialogue makes for bad publicity

The Pidgin picket has made headlines across the country and around the world. The “President” of Pidgin, Brandon Grossutti, admits that the stark contrast between wealthy patrons and those who frequent Pigeon Park across the street was bound to cause a stir. Pidgin’s marketing strategy is to position itself on the edgy frontier of Vancouver’s world-class inequality. Grossutti even claims to have chosen Pidgin’s location to start a “conversation.” According to DTES worker Paulo Ribeiro, “it seems like he’s saying: ‘I’ve decided to open a fine dining restaurant in an incredibly impoverished neighborhood so rich people can come here to have a conversation about it.’ That is what they call a one-sided conversation.”

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Surrey Gentrification and the suburbs
7:00pm
Tuesday March 19 2013
Venue: Room 2600, SFU Surrey
» More information

From the SFU Urban Studies program: a series on gentrification.

Gentrification is typically associated with change in inner city housing markets. The goal of this speaker series is to advance some wider perspectives on gentrification, recognizing that housing change is only one aspect of this broader social and economic process.

Gentrification and the suburbs
Suzanne Lanyi Charles, Assistant Professor, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan
RSVP: http://www.sfu.ca/reserve

“Suburban gentrification” of older, inner-ring suburbs is an emerging phenomenon that has the potential to transform metropolitan regions. It may foreshadow shifts in household location patterns and changes in the socio-economic composition of neighborhoods similar to examples of gentrification observed in central cities. Using evidence of residential redevelopment in the inner-ring suburbs of Chicago, in the lecture Prof. Charles discusses the unique manifestation of redevelopment/gentrification in the inner-ring suburban context.

jerrym

The following article describes how the Evergreen Line is going to reduce affordable housing. 

"The new $1.4-billion Evergreen Line is a threat to Coquitlam's stock of affordable housing because it slashes through older neighbourhoods like Burquitlam that have many rental homes.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart says that's the price Metro Vancouver cities must pay for rapid transit as it brings higher density to neighbourhoods, often with more expensive condo towers replacing low-rise rentals.

It's not only affecting municipalities with new transit options - such as the Tri-Cities and the new Evergreen Line. SkyTrain-rich cities like Burnaby are also seeing old, low-rise apartment buildings around areas like Metrotown being torn down in favour of higher density options. ...

Burquitlam - an older residential neighbourhood in Coquitlam designated for one of the seven SkyTrain stations on the 11-kilometre Evergreen Line - has 24 per cent of the city's affordable housing stock. The city estimates that by 2023 between 700 and 1,000 units of rental stock in the area may be lost as a result of redevelopment after the Evergreen Line is completed. And with its population expected to grow by 50,000 by 2023, Coquitlam estimates it will need an additional 20,000 rental housing units. ...

In Burnaby, the city has tried to protect rental housing by preventing older apartments from being converted to condos during redevelopment. There are still strict rules around redevelopment in areas such as Edmonds, where there's a high number of immigrants and refugees, but Mayor Derek Corrigan noted the apartments in areas like Metrotown have long passed their best-before date.

'They get ghettoized; they get so rundown they become a big problem,' Corrigan said. 'Low cost rental housing is for people who work in our community; they're baristas, retailers.... They're losing their ability to live here. We haven't been able to find that magic solution to retain all that.'

Metro Vancouver has been urging the federal government to offer tax incentives to boost rental housing.

Both Coquitlam and Burnaby are offering 'bonus densities,' taking money from developers in return for allowing increased density, as well as other schemes to entice the market for rental housing."

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Evergreen+Line+threat+affordable+ho...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Vancouver Gentrification and social inclusion/exclusion
7:00pm
Thursday April 4 2013
Venue: Room 1900 (Fletcher Challenge Theatre), SFU Vancouver (Harbour Centre)
» More information

Gentrification is typically associated with change in inner city housing markets. The goal of this speaker series is to advance some wider perspectives on gentrification, recognizing that housing change is only one aspect of this broader social and economic process.

Gentrification and social inclusion/exclusion
Loretta Lees, Professor of Human Geography, Department of Geography, King’s College London, UK
RSVP: http://www.sfu.ca/reserve

This paper discusses the displacement of low income populations in inner London due to state-led gentrification. State-led gentrification is occurring through the large scale demolition and ‘urban regeneration’ of council estates in inner London, a process sold to the public through mixed communities policy. This ‘new urban renewal’ (Hyra, 2008) is leading to the social cleansing of the final gentrification frontiers in inner London. Some disturbing stories of C21st state ‘Rachmanism’ are revealed by those forced to leave their homes. This state-led gentrification is in the process of being further escalated by the Coalition government’s benefit caps. Prof. Lees argues that if these processes continue London will end up being the ‘embarras de richesses’ that Ruth Glass (1964) predicted.

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