This morning, we learned that City of Vancouver representatives accompanied by the Vancouver Police Department began actively decamping people sheltering in the 100-Block of East Hastings Street, part of the larger Hastings Tent City.
Legal observers advised us that no one has been offered housing, shelter, or alternative sheltering areas. We have also been informed of accelerated “clean up” activities at the Ayx Village at CRAB Park.
The City’s latest decampment coincides with a snowfall warning alert for Metro Vancouver. Significant snowfall accumulations are expected through Wednesday morning, and there is no adequate winter housing plan in place. The latest EWR Activation update shows a small number of emergency weather options, but mostly only for overnight spaces which are closed until 9pm and evict people by 7am. Also, these spaces will be evicted when weather conditions “improve” which includes temperatures rising above a completely arbitrary 0 or –5 °C. There is active litigation concerning the Fire Order which attempted to evict the tent city in July 2022 but rather than waiting for the courts, the city of Vancouver has chosen to use their Street and Traffic Bylaw to dismantle and remove structures and personal belongings now.
The City’s enforcement of this bylaw is constitutionally suspect, as it is being undertaken without due consideration of the human rights and social conditions of Hastings Tent City Residents.
Funding both City Engineering and VPD to enforce anti-homeless bylaws is a disappointing use of public dollars. As Pivot has repeatedly emphasized, continually displacing community members who rely on public space without offering safe, dignified, and liveable housing, creates a cycle of displacement which actively harms those sheltering outside while also putting increased pressure on emergency services.
Last week, 17 organizations issued an open letter to the city, provincial & federal government, asking them to stop penalizing tent city residents for the realities of the housing crisis. While there is no single solution for the hundreds of community members who rely on public space throughout Vancouver, we have endorsed 7 demands issued by residents of Hastings Tent City, with the hopes they can inform policy decisions:
- Hands off tent cities
- A real public option for housing
- Real fire safety
- Make landlords fix buildings
- Protect all tenants’ rights under the law
- Power to the tenants
- Housing now
You can find the full demands in the joint letter sent to the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Honourable Murray Rankin & His Worship Ken Sim on November 22, 2022.
To support people sheltering in public space & parks we encourage our supporters to send resources to:
Mobile free store redistributing material resources to our unhoused neighbours on unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nations (vancouver, BC) - Accepting monetary donations via e-transfer or paypal - [email protected]
Help make the holidays brighter for some of the most vulnerable and resilient unhoused and under-housed residents of so-called Vancouver living at CRAB Park tent city. Donate here: https://chuffed.org/project/3y6lmdm02b8a?fbclid=IwAR0ojLEqPntqvzdqjBnc8UFQRo46i4UiQIZkRTwdQwAzeGAfrkNVAWejeKg
The Coalition has been making cold weather bags for our unhoused neighbours in the DTES. Each kit comes with long johns, long shirt, gloves, socks, hat, hand warmers and some other essentials. Support their work by purchasing merch at https://heroinmart.com/collections/cpddw
Naneek is distributing resources in the DTES, as well as serving soup, bannock, and hot beverages. You can support them by transfering funds to - [email protected]
Using the law as a catalyst for positive social change, Pivot Legal Society works to improve the lives of marginalized communities.