What: Rally & Teach-in
When: Tuesday, April 18th – 4.30pm
Where: Meet 4.30pm @ Victory Square . We will then march together into the 58 W Hastings Open House (Room 420, VCC Downtown Campus – 250 West Pender Street).
Our Homes Can’t Wait acknowledges that this event is being organized on the occupied, unceded traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Not another Woodwards!
After promising that the site at 58 W Hastings would be used for 100% welfare/pension rate housing controlled by the community, the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) is proposing to rezone the site for only 50% welfare/pension rate housing controlled by the Chinatown Foundation. Our Homes Can’t Wait has been working in good faith with the city on this project since last summer but virtually all parts of our community vision for the site have been ignored by the City. Come to a rally and teach-in at the City’s open house for 58 W Hastings and tell the City “We don’t want another Woodwards” and “We want Gregor to keep his promise.”
The lot at 58 W Hastings has been the the long-term focus of a demand for social housing in the Downtown Eastside, including the Downtown Eastside Neighborhood Council’s “Ten Sites” campaign, the Olympic Tent City in 2010. Most recently, the 58 W Hastings Tent City and the Our Homes Can’t Wait Campaign. Yet, despite the persistent and long-term demand for housing on the site, only half of the units in the new development will be affordable to low-income people.
On August 2nd, at a packed meeting in the Carnegie Theatre, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson finally agreed to the minimum demand of the Our Homes Can’t Wait campaign: that the city-owned lot at 58 W Hastings should have social housing with 100% welfare/pension rents.
Through the Fall of 2016, OHCW has met with the City to work on both the funding and operating of the site. In this process, we have emphasized the importance of resident controlled social housing and the need for 100% social housing at welfare/pension rate, which we see as necessary, both as a means to provide enough housing units and as a means to slow down the social-mix gentrification process, which has been responsible for increased evictions and SRO conversions.
We have also pushed for 500 sq. ft units which we reduced to 400 in a goodwill compromise, but which planners have significantly undercut at 250 sq. ft. We also expected, based on early conversations, that the site would provide a total number of 300 units, which has since been reduced to 250 and now 222 units. As it stands, the City has only secured enough funding to subsidize half of the units (111 units). OHCW also wanted peer-run and cultural services and spaces on the ground floor but in December, Our Homes Can’t Wait discovered that the City was planning to lease three floors of the building to VCH, without community consultation.
In each instance we feel that not only has the City failed to listen to these basic priorities put forward by the community, it has unanimously pushed through an opposing agenda for 58 W Hastings. OHCW opposes the development of another social mix building on Hastings. Since Woodward’s was built on the social-mix model, we have lost over 400 units of SRO Hotel units in a 1-block radius to the West of 58 W Hastings. 228 units would barely make up for half the units we lost in the same area.
Come to the open house rally and tell the City we don’t want another Woodwards!