Looking for YIMBYs!
Imagine getting ready to move into a new neighbourhood and being told: “there are already too many of your kind here.” Imagine facing residents’ associations that want to know your personal history before you move in or neighbours who use emails, flyers and public meetings to question your right to be a part of the community.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for many who have been impacted by poverty, homelessness, mental illness or addiction.
The expression “Not in My Backyard” or “NIMBY” means taking a defensive position against a planned project in one’s own neighbourhood. NIMBY attitudes and activism have popped up in response to projects as diverse as community gardens, needle boxes, group homes for disabled people, and emergency shelters.
Here in Vancouver, we saw a flurry of NIMBY activity in 2009 when City Council began to address the immediate need for shelter spaces through the Homeless Emergency Action Team (HEAT). The winter shelters, which were set up throughout the city, faced considerable opposition from residents of neighbourhoods outside the Downtown Eastside. In fact, vocal opposition from neighbourhood residents contributed to two of the shelters being closed ahead of schedule.
We believe that each of us has a role to play in challenging NIMBYism and building more inclusive, welcoming communities. That’s why we have been developing our “Yes, In My Back Yard” Toolkit. The goal of the kit is to empower individuals, groups, and agencies to respond effectively and respectfully to the types of criticisms and pressures that impact socially conscious initiatives.
Now here is our challenge to you - open up YOUR backyard for Pivot’s YIMBY Kit launch.
We are looking for YIMBYs: people who understand the value of addressing homelessness, addictions, and mental illness in a proactive and positive way through safe and supportive housing, and who want to say “yes in my backyard!” to host the launch party of our YIMBY Toolkit later this summer.
Whether there is a NIMBY battle looming in your neighbourhood, a project that has had a positive impact that you would like to celebrate, or you just want to welcome new people into your space, we would love to hear from you.
Intrigued? Send Heather an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org