58 Days for 58 West Hastings
Vancouver, BC, Unceded Coast Salish Territories – Today the Our Homes Can’t Wait Coalition (OHCW) is launching its 58 Days for 58 West Hastings campaign in the lead-up to the 2018 Vancouver municipal election. In the 58 days between today and October 20, 2018, OHCW will build and mobilize a popular movement to end displacement and homelessness, which begins with the City of Vancouver keeping its promise to build 100% welfare and pension-rate, resident-controlled housing at 58 West Hastings.
The full demands of the 58 for 58 campaign are as follows:
1. Build 100% welfare- and pension-rate, resident-controlled housing at 58 W. Hastings, as promised by Mayor Gregor Robertson on August 2, 2016. We demand that the City fulfill its commitment to have every unit of this building be rented at $375 per month.
2. Build 9 additional sites of genuine social housing, with at least 100 welfare- and pension-rate units in each building. We demand the City to acquire and build on municipally-owned sites in the Downtown Eastside to meet the urgent need for welfare- and pension-rate housing.
3. Protect and renovate existing SROs to provide dignified housing. Low-cost SRO units are being lost to intentional landlord neglect and gentrification. The City must not only protect existing SRO housing stock, but upgrade their facilities to provide dignified housing for low-income residents, meaning clean, secure, self-contained units with individual kitchens and bathrooms.
4. Implement real rent control. Without real rent control, landlords are incentivized to evict tenants and demolish affordable housing to raise rents to make massive profits. Policy tieing rents to individual units, not tenants, will help curb displacement via renovictions and demovictions.
5. Implement a rent freeze until welfare rates, pensions, and minimum wages are increased.
To start off the 58 for 58 campaign, organizers from OHCW will join the DTES SRO Collaborative and residents of the Downtown Eastside for a Town Hall event today at 3pm at the Carnegie Community Centre Theatre. The meeting will discuss the City of Vancouver’s recent announcement to expropriate the Regent and Balmoral single resident occupancy (SRO) hotels from the Sahota slumlord family. OHCW organizers will be present to learn from and build connections with SRO tenants fighting for housing justice.
Two years ago the Downtown Eastside community won 100% welfare- and pension-rate housing at 58 West Hastings. City council is now trying back out of its commitment. The last City brochure detailing plans for the site stated only one-third of the building’s proposed 231 units are guaranteed to be rented at $375 per month.
“Gentrification means that places that used to be affordable for the poor are no longer affordable,” says OHCW organizer Laural Gaudette. “Today you can stand at 58 West Hastings and point to the Metropole, the Lotus Hotel, and the Argile. These three buildings alone represent hundreds of places where poor people used to be able to afford, and which are now renting for $1,200/month.”
OHCW sees the redevelopment of 58 West Hastings as an ideal opportunity for a new model of housing based on principles of community control and a genuine commitment to building dignified social housing. The City’s present proposal to rent only one-third of the building’s 231 units at welfare- and pension-rates – the prevailing ‘social mix’ model of housing – will not only fail to adequately address the rising rates of homelessness in the DowntownEastside, but will as well further fuel gentrification with the construction of unaffordable, market-rate units.
Town Hall Meeting
Carnegie Community Centre Theatre
401 Main Street, Vancouver
Thursday, August 23, 3 pm
Lama Mugabo | (604) 715 9565
Vince Tao | (604) 258 8533
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About Our Homes Can't Wait Coalition
The OHCW coalition recognizes that our work takes place on the stolen territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Our Homes Can’t Wait is a coalition of groups that want more social housing in the Downtown Eastside. The Our Homes Can’t Wait community vision for 58 W Hastings has so far been endorsed by Carnegie Community Action Project, Carnegie Community Centre Association, The Drug Users Resource Centre, Gallery Gachet, Alliance Against Displacement, Carnegie African Descent Group, Vancouver IWW, COSCO Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of B.C., Union Gospel Mission, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, WAHRS – Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, First United – Vancouver Downtown Eastside, Pivot Legal Society, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, Chinatown Concern Group 唐人街關注組, Chinatown Action Group 華埠行動小組, Aboriginal Front Door, and Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative