For Immediate Release
April 14, 2013
Downtown Eastsiders paint old police station to claim it for 100% social housing
About 75 Downtown Eastside residents and supporters gathered at the former police station at Main and Cordova today to claim
the empty building for social housing and a community space for
Aboriginal women and social justice groups. “No corps here. 100% social
housing,” said one sign. “People not profit,” said another.
Every resident based group in the Downtown Eastside supports this
demand, including the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, Downtown
Eastside Neighbourhood Council, Carnegie Community Centre Association,
Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group, Aboriginal Front Door, Gallery
Gachet and Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction.
The action was
one of a series by Formerly Homeless Dave and his supporters. Dave is
on day 24 of a Hunger Strike. His demands include using the city owned
former police station for social housing, having the city buy the site
at 138 E. Hastings for social housing, and declaring the Downtown
Eastside a Social Justice Zone where low income people won’t be pushed
Wendy Pedersen, an independent organizer and DTES
resident told the group that 5000 SRO residents and over 600 shelter
resident in the DTES are in dire need of housing. But instead of using
the empty cop shop for what the neighbourhood desperately needs, the
city “wants to put in a high tech venture capital hub that will bring
more condos, fancy restaurants and displacement.”
said we need “drastic action now” because “we’ve been to every city
council meeting in the last 10 years and we lose every time.”
Ten year old Agnes, started painting the wall with a three foot high
daisy, part of a DTES tradition begun in 1995 when now MLA Jenny Kwan
painted a daisy on Woodward’s as part of a fight to get it turned into
But the 125 units of singles social housing at
Woodward came with 536 condos which pushed up land values and prices
nearby, and over 400 SROs raised rents, within a block of Woodward’s,
beyond what people on welfare and pensions can afford.
“We won’t be tricked again,” said Dave Hamm of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.
Homeless Dave said that the Hunger Strike is “not fun.” But it’s
necessary because the Mayor is planning to give this building to
corporations and then subsidize them instead of building social housing
in the community.”
“This gentrification and displacement of
human lives is not right,” Elaine Durocher, a DTES resident, told the
group. “Housing is a right. I was homeless once and I know what it
VANDU president Dave Hamm said that VANDU “is in total support of Homeless Dave’s Hunger Strike and housing.”
DJ Joe of the DNC board said she was also in support of the Hunger Strike.
People drew pictures of flowers, houses, and people on the wall of the
old police station. Their slogans read: “100% social housing today.”
“We are Human!” “Human capital, not venture capital.” “Homes here now.”
“Condos create homelessness.”
Formerly Homeless Dave plans to continue the Hunger Strike until action is taken on his demands.
Contact: Tami Starlight 604.790.9943; Wendy Pedersen 604. 839.0379;
Click here to see more beautiful photos!