November 19, 2021
HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT: SUPPORT NEEDED FOR RESIDENTS OF CRAB PARK IN THE DOWNTOWN EASTIDE OF VANCOUVER
A long-term, sustainable housing solution is needed for East Vancouver.
(Unceded Territory of Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.)
Over the past week the Province of BC has been devastated by an atmospheric event that left many communities vulnerable to flooding and that resulted in the loss of human life and billions of dollars in damage to the infrastructure of the province. Meanwhile, over 50 residents of CRAB Park were left to weather these severe weather events on their own. There were limited, temporary overnight shelters were open however residents were left each day in 90km winds in tents, soaking wet, without food, and with dangerous flooding around them. We call upon municipal, provincial and federal governments to find a long term, sustainable, safe and adequate housing solution for residents of CRAB Park and other tent cities in Vancouver, BC as moderate rehabilitation single room occupancy (SRO’s) are not adequate.
Members of the community have said they do not want to be removed from CRAB Park as they have established a community there; yet they face another eviction. The Vancouver Park Board is seeking an injunction that will allow the forced removal of residents of CRAB Park. Residents of CRAB Park feel safer and more secure living there than in an SRO, yet have to live with daily morning street sweeps and the loss of their few belongings. We are particularly concerned over Indigenous residents, women, children and families who are the most vulnerable in Canadian society due to colonization and systemic racism.
Housing affordability has been at critical levels in Vancouver for decades with the average annual income on Vancouver East being $27,000 annually. Vancouver needs investment in adequate social housing not SRO’s and 50,000 supportive housing units over ten years and at least 300,000 units of deeply affordable non-market, co-op and non-profit housing over the next decade to adequately address the homelessness situation in Vancouver. Housing developments should not be focused on for-profit developments that get the small number of available of housing subsidies for “affordable housing” in the range of $1,900 for a one bedroom apartment. All new housing developments that receive municipal, provincial and federal funding and subsidies should ensure that at least 40% of all units are deeply affordable and available to people with disabilities, seniors and people with special needs.
Under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights all people have the right to adequate food, water, sanitation, clothing, housing and medical care, and social protections. To date the residents of CRAB Park have not been afforded these basic human rights and need support and adequate housing not to be impacted by the criminalization of poverty and homelessness.
About Protect Our Indigenous Sisters Society. Our goal is to work in Indigenous communities to end violence and to make communities safer for Indigenous, women, girls, boys, families and LGBTQ2S+ through advocacy, policy, research and action through pragmatic solutions and with the grounding of our Indigenous teachings.
For more information or to get involved with POISS, please contact:
Dr. Cheryl Matthew, Executive Director
Phone: (604) 999-1264
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