A Description of the campaign

YIMBY = Someone who supports the rights of all people to live and access medical treatment in the neighbourhoods they choose. We believe that each of us has a role to play in challenging NIMBYism and building more inclusive, welcoming communities.

Yes In My Back Yard

"We believe that each of us has a role to play in building more inclusive, welcoming communities."

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.

At Pivot 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 launched our “Yes, In My Back Yard” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to empower individuals, groups, and agencies to respond effectively and respectfully to the types of criticisms and pressures that impact socially conscious initiatives.



"A lack of decent housing is one of the most significant barriers to full participation in community life"

Think about where you live today – an apartment, a townhouse, a house – how important is this place? What value do you put on having shelter where you sleep, a place to keep you secure and safe? Regardless of whether you rent or own, how hard would life be without a place to call your own?

Now imagine that you have to move and your new neighbours – neighbours who say they have nothing personal against you – say damaging and untrue things about you through email, flyers, posters, internet blogs, and at public meetings. In British Columbia today, many people experience exactly this whenever a much needed service, like shelter or housing, is proposed.

We believe that everyone has a basic right to housing. That means community advocates, housing developers, elected officials, and compassionate neighbours must speak out when human rights are violated by NIMBYism. Otherwise, communities are emboldened to believe they can zone out people they see as “undesirable.”
The need for supportive housing in Vancouver and throughout the province – by which we mean safe affordable housing with support services for people with mental health and/or addiction issues – is undeniable. A lack of decent housing is one of the most significant barriers to full participation in community life. Without good quality housing, many people cycle between jails, hospitals, shelters and the streets, costing governments far more than the price of actually providing supportive housing!

Supervised Injection

"the right to access medical treatment is a human right"

Imagine having a medical condition that profoundly affects your everyday life.  Now imagine that your neighbours, businesses, and politicians decided that the medical treatment you need shouldn’t be located in your community.  Unfortunately, this is the reality faced by drug users every day.  In communities across British Columbia and Canada, people are standing in the way of medical services proven to reduce the harm to drug users and neighbourhoods, such as supervised injection sites, needle exchanges, and methadone maintenance treatment programs.

Through campaigns of misinformation and fear, people across the country are fighting efforts by health authorities and community service providers to deliver health services to drug users that can reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C, prevent people from dying of an overdose, provide access to healthcare professionals, and stabilize their lives.  Municipalities are responding with restrictive zoning and by refusing to grant permits for these facilities.

At Pivot we believe that the right to access medical treatment is a human right, and those rights don’t stop just because someone uses illicit drugs.  Many people agree with this stand, but your voices are silenced by NIMBYism.  It’s time for people who support evidence-based healthcare services to let their elected officials know of your support, and say “Yes, in my backyard” to harm-reduction.

YIMBY: Spread the Word

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