statements

August 14th, 2014

DNC Position Paper on Drug Law Policy

March 5, 2011

DNC Statement on honorariums at our general meetings

March 5, 2011
DNC Funding and fundraising policy

March 22, 2011
DNC statement in support of safe 24 hour spaces for women in the DTES

January 27, 2011
Community resolution against the towers in Chinatown

January 21, 2011
Council strikes down the DTES heights… sort of

January 13, 2011
Community resolution against the DTES condo towers plan

January 11, 2011
Social Impact Study must be resident-based

January 8, 2011
DNC resolution against market development in the DTES “Until there’s no more homelessness”

October 21-22, 2010
DNC action for housing above the Hastings street (Strathcona) library (see below)

For Immediate Release: October 22, 2010

DTES residents demand that city council make space for housing in the 2011 budget

“Our priority is housing.” Slogan from the October 22 surprise action for housing.

 

On Friday a group of DTES residents and housing activists rallied at the 100-year-old clubhouse of Vancouver big-business real estate to demand housing be built above the new Hastings Street Library. Surprise action organizer Tami Starlight, elected Steering Committee member of the DTES Neighbourhood Council said, “It’s incredible that city council can pretend that building social housing or not is a technical issue. This is the same council that brags about having the lowest property tax rate in all the G8 countries, and the mayor is holding a budget consultation with big business at the Terminal City Club? Of course we’re here to raise the issue of social housing. The solution is simple: raise taxes on business and the rich.  We want the city to buy or designate 10 sites for social housing in our neighbourhood before the next election.  They can start with putting social housing above our new library.”

On October 7th, many from the same group had visited city hall to oppose a recommendation from City Staff that the new library at 720 E. Hastings be built as a stand-alone, without social housing as part of the infrastructure. While council voted to send the recommendation back to the city manager to see if funding could be found, they placed harsh restrictions on their request — that any housing addition must not disrupt the timeline of the library’s construction.

Tami Starlight continued, “City hall is playing political dodge-ball with people’s lives. This is a great opportunity to build two critical resources for our community — housing and a library. Council is squandering this opportunity through political favoritism to a handful of property owners who discriminate against poor people.”

Richard Cunningham, board member of VANDU and elected steering committee member of the DTES Neighbourhood Council said, “I am tired of promises, promises, promises. I’m tired of being treated like a 3rd class citizen in a 3rd world country. There’s all this money at Olympic village. I don’t care about the politics of it but I do care about my brothers and my sisters. You are spending money of frivolous things but hey, we are human beings, so treat us with respect.”

About city council’s claim that the promised 14 sites of housing will solve the so-called “street homelessness” problem in Vancouver, Dave Diewert of Streams of Justice said, “There were only 280 actual new social housing units built in BC in the last 5 years, when you look through the smoke and mirrors of announcements and there is not much there. The DTES is the place and the priority to purchase land for housing. When mayor Robertson says that he will solve the problem of ‘street homelessness,’ we know he means ‘visible’ homelessness. We need enough social housing to end all homelessness.”

Nathan Compton, a member of VANACT!, speaking about the surprise action and hinting at more to come, said, “We should have no faith in the future when the city can’t guard and protect existing units. Council gave a token 6 units at the American hotel, approving the eviction of the tenants and the profiteering flip of the building. Council has no plan for after 2013 even though they know it takes 4,5,6 years to bring more housing on line. We’re making our own plans for more actions to fight for housing.”

Finally, Dave Murray, CCAP volunteer and DNC member wrapped up the intent of the surprise action by unveiling the full list of ten sites DNC is demanding the city buy for housing before the next election. Murray said, “I have been homeless, lived in hotels, I’ve slept in a few doorways and parks and some laneways in Strathcona. This is really a no brainer. We want you to buy 5 properties a year for social housing and you don’t even have to buy the library site. This would be 1 down and 9 more to go.” The other DTES sites Dave Murray unveiled for the city to buy or designate as 100% social housing were:

1)  Library on Hastings                City owned

2)  Buddhist Temple                    Prov owned empty building

3)  Pigeon Park Savings               Prov owned empty lot

4)  58 W. Hastings                       Empty lot

5)  549 and 553 E Cordova         Empty lots

6)  Pantageous Theatre                 Empty buildings

7)  148 E Cordova                       Empty lot

8)  Stadium Hotel on Cambie      SRO for sale

9)  334 Carrall                              Empty building

10)  780 Main                               Empty lot

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For more information, contact:

Dave Murray, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, (778) 320-5823

Nathan Crompton, VanAct! (778) 628-6252

Tami Starlight, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council (604) 790-9943

Media Coverage of the 2 days of housing actions:

UBC Thunderbird, October 28 2010, “Social Housing Library Project Hangs in the Balance.”

A great photo essay at AHA Media

And another at Vancouver Media Coop from Flux Photo

↔↔↔

Media Release – Oct 21, 2010

Homes plus books equals happy DTES families and homeless

 

“I think there should be homes and a library because I love the library and I like staying in a house.”  Myriam (age 9), DTES resident.

On Thursday morning, DTES/Strathcona families, homeless residents and others gathered in front of the proposed site of a new DTES/Strathcona VPL branch to support the construction of social housing above the library.  As Stacey Bonenfant, DTES mother of three children said:  “We need housing for families and others above the library.  We need to live close to schools and have easy access to libraries for literacy.  What happened to the Mayor’s promise to end homelessness?  How can you not want to house families or others who are really in need?”

Gladys Radek of Walk for Justice, Auntie of a young woman who went missing, talked about the link between social housing and the missing and murdered women: “the one thing that is seriously lacking is the lack of housing….the city should be looking after us. Start protecting our women and children.”

Beth Malena, a Pastor living in Strathcona, who works with many low-income families in the area said: “I live 4 blocks away from the proposed library. I love books. I love reading….But there is something I love more than books. That’s my friends and neighbours in Strathcona and the DTES. Many of them need housing. I’d happily give up my library so they can have roofs, but hey, there is a possibility of doing both, I can love books and my friends. It’s perfect. But it might take time. But if there is one thing that I learned about my friends…they have learned patience.  But patience is running out for housing.  We can be patient for a library.  We can’t wait for housing.”

Bruce Triggs, parent of 2 children who live in a nearby co-op says, “every time we walk by someone who is homeless I try to explain to my daughters why people have to live on the street.  We checked out 10 or 20 books from the library trying to understand it.  Housing above the library would be an awesome example to show my kids of how we can solve this problem.  We’ll be very disappointed if they refuse to build housing here.  I want the city to explain their actions to my kids and the other children in our neighbourhood, some who won’t have a place to live if this housing isn’t built.”

These residents and likely thousands of other DTES residents, who signed a petition for the housing, are very disappointed by city council’s recent 9:1 vote to go ahead with a stand-alone library if the city can’t find funding for housing before a one month deadline.

Dave Murray, of the DTES said “I’ve been homeless, lived in hotels, and now I’m couch surfing at my brother’s place.  I would like to live above this library.  This is really a no brainer.  City council doesn’t even have to buy this one. We asked them to design it for future housing but they won’t even do that.  This shows they aren’t serious about building real housing in the DTES. We have other examples of this too. We’re very angry.”

Vanessa Lowe lives near the proposed library.  She is worried about families who are desperate for housing:  “I’m really grateful to get a library that isn’t a reading room or attached to a school, but it seems like a great luxury to have a stand-alone library when the need is so urgent for additional social housing. One of our neighbourhood schools may be closing soon.  Families can’t afford to live here anymore and we need families to keep the history and character of our area.”

A renter in Strathcona, Lena McFarlane, who attended the city council meeting about the library on Oct 7th, said afterwards that “the city needs to stop covering up their political decisions with technical excuses.  They can prove to us that they care about DTES residents by putting social housing on the library.  They must work harder to replace the 100 year old hotels that are falling apart with decent apartments that residents and families can afford.  We want this council to end all homelessness not just ‘visible’ homelessness.”

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For more information, contact:

Pastor Beth Malena, DNC member, 778-846-2738

 


Background:

Letter to mayor for housing:

Decision on library postponed

Link to city council meeting video

Article on the library press conference from the Vancouver Courier, October 26, 2010

And from the Georgia Straight, October 21 2010, here

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