Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Call out for Endorsements


Gentrification is intensifying; the housing crisis is deepening, and the health of the people and community are under serious threat.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
                                                                                                    - Homeless Dave
April 2, 2013

Dear friend of the Downtown Eastside:

Will your group endorse the following demands for housing in Vancouver and to stop gentrification?
Homeless Dave, a DTES resident, is now in the second week of a hunger strike to protest gentrification, displacement and to demand adequate social housing. His demands are:

  1. 100% community-directed social housing at the Sequel 138 condo site with a healing and wellness centre;
  2. 100% social housing at the former cop shop at 312 Main with a community-directed space focused on women and Aboriginal people in recognition of the horrific damage done over the years by the Vancouver Police at that site and,
  3. That the City of Vancouver declare the Downtown Eastside a "Social Justice Zone" along with the policies to make it happen.

The City has misled the public by claiming DTES housing is under control. In fact, there are 850 homeless people in the DTES and 5,000 SRO (single-room occupancy) rooms that need to be replaced with affordable apartments. As we lose low-income housing it is not being replaced. Last year, 170 condo units were built, only 24 new social housing units opened, and 425 more low-income units were lost to rent increases. In Chinatown, 571 condos were approved in the last year and only 11 social housing units. In this extreme housing crisis, the City is encouraging high-end restaurants and condos, pushing up land values, pushing out affordable businesses and raising rents so that low-income people can no longer afford to live and shop in their own neighbourhood.

Dave has type 2 Diabetes and is only drinking sage tea and 325ml of Happy Planet juice daily. While we are very concerned with his health, we are confident he will get through this trial. He is strong, stubborn and a symbol of the resistance and resilience that have always been central to struggles for social justice.

Dave is honoured to have the support of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and Cecilia Point of the Musqueam Nation. Several Downtown Eastside groups have also endorsed his demands including: Aboriginal Front Door, Carnegie Community Action Project, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group, Gallery Gachet, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society.

We ask that you and your organization endorse this very important action.

Thank you for considering this request. If you need any more information or want to get involved please call Wendy Pedersen at 604-839-0379.

We’re not about smashing windows. We’re about smashing the old broken paradigms and building new paradigms that are more just and equal.” – Homeless Dave

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