Vancouver to protest Trudeau’s Housing Strategy
Community groups to rally for immediate Federal expenditure on social housing, rejecting the Liberals' "National Gentrification Strategy"
What: Rally for National Housing Day of Action
When: Saturday, November 25, 12PM-2PM
Where: Start at 58 West Hastings and march to 105 Keefer St
Visuals: a raincouver special poncho dance and a surprise visit from Justin Trudeau's face
Speakers from: Our Homes Can't Wait, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, Chinatown Action Group 華埠行動小組, Chinatown Concern Group 唐人街關注組, Carnegie Community Action Project, Carnegie African Descent Group, Vancouver Tenants Union, SRO Collaborative, DTES Power of Women Group, Tent City residents, and more.
Vancouver, BC, Unceded Coast Salish Territories – Observing the National Housing Day of Action, groups from across Canada are holding rallies to protest the Liberals’ National Housing Strategy announced Nov 22nd. In Vancouver, community groups from across the city are coming together for a rally and a march starting from 58 W Hastings and ending at 105 Keefer St.
Protesters will demand 100% welfare/pension rate social housing at these two sites, rejecting the Federal government's proposed mix-income housing strategy, an experiment that has already gentrified the Downtown Eastside.
The rallies held across the country demand in unison that the Federal government spend 100% of the $11.2 billion they have committed to housing within the next 2 years, the time left before the next Federal election.
“The alleged $40 billion in the Federal Housing Strategy is designed to look like more than it is. It is stretched over the whole county and over 10 years. It includes $11 billion that was already planned, $4.8 billion that is ‘repurposed’ and a lot that isn’t even provided by the federal government but foisted onto the provinces,” says Jean Swanson, organizer with CCAP, “We need money for tens of thousands of units of social housing that low income people can afford and we need it to start flowing now.”
“Saying we’ll end 50% of chronic homelessness in 10 years is callous and threatens the lives of tens of thousands of homeless people who need housing now,” said Lama Mugabo. “The feds could end homelessness now if they had the political will.”
Lama Mugabo, CCAP Organizer
Jean Swanson, CCAP Organizer
The acute crisis of homelessness is costing many lives in BC and across Canada but it is continually met with only a pretense of action from the different levels of government. Nearly 1 in 4 Indigenous households live in unsuitable dwellings and are 8 times more at risk of homelessness compared to the general population. Social housing units are in shambles and are being boarded up in the thousands in urban centres, exacerbating the effects of an affordability crisis that is making even rental housing unattainable. The result is that an increasing number of people are simply being abandoned to the streets.
“The abrogation of federal responsibility for housing 21 years ago by the Chretien Liberals has had dire consequences. In that time, even as the need for social housing exploded, the social housing stock stayed more or less stagnant, causing wait-lists to balloon and homelessness to rise. Now, as the existing stock crumbles for want of repair funds, all three levels of government are playing a revolting game of political dodge-ball with no one willing to pick up the tab,” says Yogi Acharya, organizer with OCAP.
“The Liberals are promising help in the ever-elusive future, while holding us hostage now as we lay besieged by a housing crisis largely of their creation,” says A.J. Withers, organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). “There has always been a big disconnect between the Liberal rhetoric and record on housing, and it’s time for that hypocrisy to end,” adds Withers.
The National Housing Day of Action protests will be taking place in Quebec City, Montreal, Sherbrooke, Gatineau, Rimouski, Rouyn-Noranda, Granby, Toronto, London, Edmonton, and Vancouver. All are united in demanding the following of the Trudeau Liberals:
1. Spend 100% of the $11.2 billion announced in the March 2017 budget within the next two years to respond to the crisis of social housing plaguing the country.
2. Renew federal subsidies to low-income tenants in existing social housing (co-op, nonprofit and public).
3. Build new social housing units with rent-geared-to income subsidies that are affordable to people living on social assistance and old age pension.
4. Eliminate homelessness and prioritize needs of those in precarious housing situations, especially marginalized groups including on and off-reserve Indigenous communities, recent immigrants, racialized communities, lone parent families and single seniors, women fleeing violence, disabled people, youth, people on social assistance, and the working poor.
1. We need Federal funding to meet the long-standing demand of the Downtown Eastside community for 100% welfare and pension rate community-controlled housing at 58 W Hastings.
2. We acknowledge the historical struggle of the low-income community in Chinatown and this community’s demand for the culturally and historically significant site at 105 Keefer. We need Federal funding for the site to be acquired and developed into 100% welfare and pension rate housing with free and public community space.
3. Ensure first priority for safe and affordable housing for women fleeing violence, women with children and women at risk of child apprehension, and elderly women.
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About Carnegie Community Action Project
The Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) is a project of the board of the Carnegie Community Centre Association. CCAP works mostly on housing, income, and land use issues in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver so that the area can remain a low-income friendly community. CCAP works with English speaking and Chinese speaking DTES residents in speaking out on their own behalf for the changes they would like to see in their neighbourhood.