This is a letter that CCAP sent to the city and the library board to get more social housing at the new library branch coming to Hastings near the Astoria soon.
Dear Mayor, Council, city staff and Library board:
The Carnegie Community Action Project would like you all to know that our Downtown Eastside community is strongly in favour of putting social housing above the new library on E. Hastings St. and we would like you to work to accomplish this, either with the city or a non profit group as partner. Having a new library on Hastings provides an amazing opportunity to get virtually free land for social housing on top.
As many of you know, CCAP has worked for the last 2 years, consulting with DTES residents about the future of their community. The number one issue is affordable housing.
*88% of 655 people who filled out CCAP’s questionnaire said that it was very important to them “that governments build new social housing in the DTES” that they can afford;
*95% of people who filled out the questionnaire said they would like to continue to live in the DTES if they had safe, secure housing.
CCAP’s Vision document, which summarizes what 1200 people in the 2 year consultation wanted, says the following:
*Build high-quality, self-contained affordable and appropriate homes for Aboriginal and low-income DTES residents;
*The 700 DTES residents who are homeless are first priority for new housing;
*Current DTES residents who have low incomes are also a priority;
*Residential hotels should be replaced in 10 years, not 53 years, the current replacement rate;
*A variety of housing types, affordable to low-income people, are needed: housing for the founding Aboriginal, Chinese, Japanese and working class communities, new housing for people living in SROs, supportive housing, independent living housing, housing for families and children, housing for seniors, housing for people with disabilities, communal and co-op housing, intergenerational housing, and housing for couples;
*Housing should be covered by the Residential Tenancy Act.
Some residents suggested mixed low-income housing in buildings that have a mission to house diverse people, including those who need support. A combination of informal and formal supports needs to be built in with residents having control over the mission, values and goals of the housing as well as admission criteria for new tenants. Others felt more comfortable in buildings where all residents needed and received supports. A variety of types are needed.
We hope you will work hard to get social housing that low-income residents can afford on top of the new library.