Here’s the report that Dave Diewert wrote following the Streams of Justice action in March to draw attention to the need to fund social housing at 12 city-owned sites below. Just after this action, the Province announced funding for 4 out of 12 sites (1338 Seymour, 188 E 1st, 3212 Dunbar and 525 Abbott). They also announced funding for 2 social housing projects that were cancelled in 2001: 1005 Station St., and 339 W Pender.
Our 4 day Quest for Social Housing on the 12 city sites action is over. It was an interesting enterprise, for sure. It started with a press conference at our first site on Tuesday morning, where we drew attention to the lack of construction on any of the sites despite promises otherwise, and announced our intention to travel by foot to each of the 12 sites in search of signs of construction. Thanks to those who came out for that part of the action, and apologies to those who missed it due to deficient communication on my part.
We then set off to 3 other sites that day. Meanwhile, at 1:00 pm on the same day, the Premier and the Housing Minister made an announcement that 6 of 14 sites (including 4 of the 12 sites we were to visit) were ready for construction and funding was in place. I had a conversation with Rich Coleman, the Housing Minister, and he said that they would be underway, with shovels in the ground, in the next few months. These two things happening on the same day was an interesting convergence, and made for some extra media attention.
We camped that night at a site in Yaletown, and decided to hit the remaining 8 of our sites all on the next day. So on Wednesday a band of 10 or so of us walked from Yaletown, through downtown, over the Burrard Street bridge, out to 16th and Dunbar; and from there along Broadway to Fraser Street, and then down to 1st and Main. We carried signs, passed out leaflets, and put up signs on every one of the 12 sites. It was a long day of walking, but we accomplished our mission, ending at the final site around 6 pm. We had supper together there, and then headed home.
Thanks for everyone’s support in various ways. It was a worthwhile event, I think. One never quite knows how to evaluate these things, but we helped to raise the issue of the absolute necessity of new, permanent social housing.
Well that’s the update. Hope you are all well. peace … dave