Organizers from the Our Homes Can’t Wait Coalition (OHCW) have blockaded the entrances of Vancouver City Hall in an effort to shut down the office’s activity for the entirety of May 1, 2018. The Coalition has issued the following statement:
“The Our Homes Can’t Wait Coalition demands that the development at 58 W. Hastings be rented at 100% welfare and pension rates, as promised by Mayor Gregor Robertson on August 2, 2016. A 2018 document produced by the City states that only one third of the proposed 231 units at 58 W. Hastings will be rented at welfare and pension rates. 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 City’s lies and inaction on 58 W. Hastings will claim the lives of hundreds unless Mayor Robertson’s promise is followed through. 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. We are not a statistic; numbers to be counted and shuffled around in the attempt to remake the city for the rich. We will fight for our lives and our right to live with dignity. There will be no business as usual at City Hall on May 1 unless our demands are met.”
Vancouver City Council was scheduled to convene this day at 9:30 AM. The first item on Council’s agenda is listed as “Response to Homelessness,” with a presentation from the Director of Homelessness Services. It has been ten years since Mayor Gregor Robertson promised to “end homelessness.” OHCW has been fighting for 100% welfare- and pension-rate housing to be built at 58 W. Hastings since 2007.
Representatives from the blockade will be available for statements beginning at 8:30 AM. There will be a press conference held at the south entrance of Vancouver City Hall at 9:00 AM, followed by a rally at 10:30 AM.