Our Homes Can’t Wait
Save SRO Hotels and Build Social Housing! 

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SOLUTION #1: Build 10 sites of social housing at welfare shelter rates

This year saw record high homelessness in the Downtown Eastside, with 836 people living on the streets and in shelters. Despite the intensifying gentrification pressure and the worsening housing crisis, only a handful of new welfare rate social housing units will open in 2016. Most of these units are part of social mix developments, which contributes to gentrification and the loss of affordable SRO units.

To stem the tide of displacement and to end homelessness, we need at least 10 sites of social housing with about 100 to 150 units on each site. There are at least six sites in the Downtown Eastside that the City already owns and would be suitable for social housing. The City should use other city owned sites for the remaining four buildings or purchase new sites in the Downtown Eastside to meet the urgent  need for housing.

SOLUTION #2: Save and improve SRO Hotels

We are rapidly losing affordable SRO units – the last stop before homelessness – as gentrification continues to push up rents. In the Downtown Eastside alone, over 300 affordable SRO rooms were lost in 2014. With new condos opening up across the Downtown Eastside we expect to lose hundreds more SRO units in the coming years. The existing SRO are inadequate, poorly maintained, bedbug, cockroach and rat infested. We need immediate action to protect SRO’s, bring them up to livable standards and make sure people on welfare can afford the rents.

SOLUTION #3: Rent control and rent freeze now!

Low-income people across the city and province are continuously evicted and displaced by rising rents, renovictions and demolitions of existing affordable housing. We need stronger protection of all existing affordable housing. We need to tie rent to the unit, instead of the tenant, that way landlords can’t increase rents between tenancies. We also need a rent freeze until welfare, pensions and minimum wages are increased a lot.

FIRST PRIORITY: Community Vision for 58 W Hastings

People at the two town hall meetings in January wanted to concentrate on one major goal in the campaign at first. This goal is to get 100% welfare rate housing at the city-owned site at 58 W. Hastings.

  • We envision and struggle for a community where every person has decent and dignified housing. For this right to be realized in our Downtown Eastside community, governments must build and maintain resident controlled housing at welfare/pension rates.
  • This housing should be prioritized for those who have been most violently and rapidly displaced and excluded from decent and dignified housing by colonialism, capitalism and gentrification: Indigenous people displaced from their traditional territories across Turtle Island, Chinese seniors, people of African descent, refugees, poor and working class women, LGBTQ2S people and people who use illicit drugs and or illicit alcohol.
  • Housing should be prioritized for people who are currently homeless or are living in SRO hotels, especially women and children who are homeless, living in shelters, escaping violence or in other extremely housing insecure situations. We envision and struggle for housing that welcomes, supports and includes our diverse and beautiful community.
  • We also want each unit to be at least 500 sq. ft., we want the bottom floor to be free meeting space for community, cultural supports and peer services and we want amenities like garden on top, balconies, fitness room.

我們的家園不能等待

  • 在市中心東端市府所擁有十幅地興 建社會房屋(按着福利金或養老額)

  • 在喜士定西街58號我們要:
    – 100%的房屋單位都要按着福利金 或養老金額出租
    – 大廈由居民管理,管理對居民負責
    – 第一層作為社區空間
    – 單位最細要有500平方呎

  • 改善和保護單人住宿酒店直到新社會房屋被興建

  • 租金控制要按着單位(不按着租客);凍結租金直到房屋危機結束

Related Articles

The Our Homes Can’t Wait campaign and the community vision for 58 W Hastings has so far been endorsed by Carnegie Community Action Project, Carnegie Community Centre Association, The Drug Users Resource Centre, Gallery Gachet, Alliance Against Displacement, Carnegie African Descent Group, Vancouver IWW, COSCO Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of B.C., Union Gospel Mission, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, WAHRS – Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, First United – Vancouver Downtown Eastside, Pivot Legal Society, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, Chinatown Concern Group 唐人街關注組, Chinatown Action Group 華埠行動小組, Aboriginal Front Door, and Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative