Press release: Carnegie Community Action Project`s Annual Hotel Report – Skyrocketing rents and the rate of change cause displacement in the Downtown Eastside
Carnegie Community Action Project`s Annual Hotel Report: Skyrocketing rents and the rate of change cause displacement in the Downtown Eastside
Highest ever homeless count in the City of Vancouver
Vancouver, June 12, 2019 – Today, the City of Vancouver released a report showing that homelessness is higher than ever in Vancouver. With a 2% increase, and 2,223 homeless people, this is the highest amount of homelessness since the homeless count began. The report states that the Indigenous population is once again vastly over-represented in both sheltered and unsheltered homeless, at 39%, and a larger proportion of “street“ or unsheltered homeless, and significantly more women.
CCAP’s annual Hotel Survey and Housing report, released today, measures whether low income people can afford to remain living in their neighbourhood. With about 13,000 low income people in the community surviving on welfare, disability and pensions, and skyrocketing hotel rents and increasingly gentrified development, the answer seems to be `no`.
This year CCAP found:
● Average rents in privately owned and run hotels were $663 per month — $24 less than last year, and $115 more than 2016. While it is a welcome respite from the brutally high $687 last year, it is still well above what someone on social assistance can afford, and the second highest average since CCAP began doing these reports 11 years ago.
● Residents surviving on social assistance of $760 per month (increased from $710 per month in 2018) and paying the average SRO rent of $663 have $97 left for food and everything else for a month.
● The top ten hotels with the fastest-increasing rents had an average rent increase of $160 per unit over last year – a 28% hike in rent, while shelter rate amounts increased by 0%. Hotels with an average rent of $600-$799 increased from 12 to 21 this year – almost double the number from last year
● 119 units of permanent welfare rate housing were built in the DTES in 2018, compared to 21 in 2017. Although it’s an increase from last year, at this rate, it would take over 10 years to house those currently homeless in the Downtown Eastside — not accounting for any increase in homelessness each year.
● Downtown Eastside residents lost 191 affordable units in 2018 and gained 78 temporary modular units and 190 permanent units. In addition, about 300 units have been lost to gentrification and 500 units were lost last year.
● The rate of change of new unaffordable housing (condos, market housing and social housing with rents above welfare shelter and pension rates) in the DTES in 2018 was 721:119 or about 6 unaffordable units to 1 affordable, permanent unit.
● The rate of change going forward into the foreseeable future with proposed and approved new DTES developments is 1,972:640 new unaffordable housing (condos, market housing and social housing with rents above welfare shelter and pension rates) to social housing or about 3 to 1. The new units could take up to 7 years to build.
● Chinatown: this year, no new social housing units at welfare/pension rate opened in Chinatown. No new market-rate housing (condo or rental) opened this year so the rate of change for 2018 was 0:0. Looking into the future, the rate of change in Chinatown is 170 condos units to minus 3 affordable units
One third of poverty and deaths worldwide are due to inadequate housing (1). Yet increasingly, housing is about housing is about finance and commodification. “Is unbridled capitalism in an area that is a human right a problem? “ asks Leilani Farha, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing in the documentary film Push. “Gold is not a human right. Housing is. We need to reclaim the fundamental right to housing.”
This morning`s homeless count report was released while city staff pushed homeless tenters in Oppenheimer Park to the margins. “Displacement in this community is the product of the rate of change and social mix, “ says CCAP Hotel Report writer Fiona York. “We`re calling for 100% shelter rate housing, including housing for Indigenous people and especially Indigenous women, at 58 West Hastings, for an immediate increase in shelter rate funding, and for a moratorium on market development and market solutions to homelessness. Especially in the Downtown Eastside. This community needs to be protected, Indigenous residents must be prioritized, and we need to keep the DTES for the DTES.“
For more information:
Fiona York, CCAP Coordinator and Administrator
Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) works to increase welfare rates,
improve social housing, and slow gentrification in Vancouver’s Downtown
Eastside (DTES). CCAP supports DTES residents to speak out for the changes we
would like to see in the neighbourhood. CCAP works with english speaking and
Chinese speaking DTES residents in speaking out on their own behalf for the
changes they would like to see in their neighbourhood.