Protesters block city hall over Vancouver affordable housing project

Our Homes Can’t Wait Coalition urges city to ensure new housing project will be welfare, pension rate

Housing protesters blocked the entrances to Vancouver City Hall on Tuesday, calling on officials to ensure every unit in a planned development will be rented out at welfare and pension rates.

At the centre of their protest: a planned development at 58 West Hastings Street, a former tent city that at its peak was home to about 17 people.

That group was ordered to leave by the B.C. Supreme Court in November 2016.

Members of the Our Homes Can’t Wait Coalition said that despite Mayor Gregor Robertson’s promise to make the new development affordable housing, a report by the city this year suggested that only one-third of the 231 units will be rented out at the welfare and pension rate of $375.

“With at least 1,200 homeless individuals living in the Downtown Eastside alone, 77 units will do little to address the mounting crisis we face today,” the coalition said in a news release.

The block to city hall comes on the day city staff and council are expected to discuss a “response to homelessness,” according to the council agenda.

“We, the poor and the homeless of the Downtown Eastside will not sit idly as our elected officials deprive us of the housing we need,” the coalition said. “We are not a statistic; numbers to be counted and shuffled around in the attempt to remake the city for the rich.”

More to come.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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