Illegal evictions in City Hall’s back yard

Vancouver – A Vancouver landlord is trying to illegally evict an entire building of low-income and marginalized renters, potentially putting them out on the street. The Cambie Café building, home to 18 people, is located at the corner of Cambie and 7th Avenue in Vancouver, right in the shadow of Vancouver City Hall.

Residents of the building, along with the Social Housing Alliance and Pivot Legal Society, will be holding a press conference today at 11 AM to speak out against the illegal evictions and demand the City and the province protect their homes.

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Using the law as a catalyst for positive social change, Pivot Legal Society works to improve the lives of marginalized communities.

“Vision Vancouver's city hall allows low-income affordable SRO hotels to be lost to rent increases. Council says there's nothing they can do to stop up-scaling because the use of the rooms is not changing and the units are not being destroyed. Well, these apartments are going to be destroyed and the use is going to change from homes people live in to offices people work in. What are they going to do to save these rooms?” says Herb Varley, a Nisga'a and Nuu-chah-nulth member of the Social Housing Alliance. 

The building is being emptied to make way for corporate/commercial use, destroying units of much needed low-income rental housing. So far, however, none of the required permits have been sought by the landlord.

Mike Burke, a 6 year resident of the building facing demolition, said, “Our issue is with the government letting a businessman tear down housing for elderly and disabled people and throwing them in the street. The people who live in this building have low incomes and we're being told to move out from the rooms we can afford, which we have lived in for years, into a city that we can't afford. Our rents are going to double while our incomes stay the same!”

“The tenancy system in this province has failed marginalized renters and the result is people being pushed into homelessness.  The Residential Tenancy Branch system is designed to let illegal evictions like these happen. The Branch does not take active measures to stop illegal mass evictions and has no way of tracking when a landlord repeatedly and seriously breaches tenants’ rights, ” says DJ Larkin, Lawyer with the Pivot Legal Society.

Many residents, on disability benefits, pension or income assistance, have already left, despite a lack of available low-income housing options. Of those remaining, some will fight the eviction, stating they have to because they have nowhere else to go.

What: Press conference demanding a stop to illegal evictions and demolition of an entire building of low-income housing
When: 11am, Thursday February 13, 2014
Where: Outside the Cambie Café, 2301 Cambie St, Vancouver BC
Who: Residents of the Cambie Café building, Herb Varley of the Social Housing Alliance and DJ Larkin of Pivot Legal Society

Contact: Ivan Drury, Social Housing Alliance & contact for residents, 604-781-7346
         DJ Larkin, Pivot Legal Society, 604-340-8422