The decade-long struggle for 58 West Hastings is far from over. Some things never change: at its inaugural meeting, Vancouver’s new City Council approved an empty proposal to fulfill its 2016 promise to build 100% welfare and pension rate housing at the site. The people of the Downtown Eastside know better than to trust them. Unless we push back, the City will continue its path of destruction in the DTES.
To defend the interests of the rich, councillors, developers, and non-profit elites have shamelessly attacked the people’s demand for 100% welfare and pension rate housing at 58. In the name of ‘social mix’ development and gentrification, they have made condescending public statements that poor and working class people cannot and should not be given a chance to live together in a community. As appalling as their insults and deceptions may be, it is only the beginning of their assault on the people’s demand for dignified housing; they will stop at nothing to protect their profits.
As gentrification continues its long march across Hastings Street, the neighbourhood’s poor and working class community are being evicted from their homes, and with them, the fighting spirit of the DTES. We must stop the violence of ‘social mix’ development before it’s too late. Building 100% welfare and pension rate housing at 58 and beyond is the first step to ending the homelessness crisis.
This fight is not just about one building; the very soul of the DTES is at stake.
Together, we will plan and propose a revised community resolution for 58 West Hastings that reaffirms the necessity of 100% welfare and pension rate, community-centred housing to be built and operated at the site.
On Thursday, November 15, Vancouver City Council approved a referral motion that directs city staff to work towards 100% welfare and pension rate housing 58 West Hastings, as promised by past Mayor Gregor Robertson in August 2016.
The referral, put forward by NPA Councillor Melissa De Genova, replaced COPE Councillor Jean Swanson’s original motion and was approved 8–1, with Swanson the only vote against. De Genova’s referral removes language asking staff to outline at least three options for sources of revenue to meet the vision for the site, including city sources. “City sources” was not included in the wording of De Genova’s referral motion, nor was Swanson’s request that staff consult with Our Homes Can’t Wait Coalition and Vancouver Chinatown Foundation and propose how “community controlled housing” could be achieved at the site. The referral also includes an ‘escape clause’, allowing the city 50%
The people of the DTES have made their message clear: we demand nothing short of 100% welfare and pension rate, community-centred housing at 58 West Hastings.
Food and drinks will be provided. The venue is wheelchair accessible.
This event and the work of the OHCW takes place on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
The Our Homes Can’t Wait campaign and the community vision for 58 W Hastings has been endorsed by Carnegie Community Action Project, Carnegie Community Centre Association, The Drug Users Resource Centre, Gallery Gachet, Alliance Against Displacement, Carnegie African Descent Group, Vancouver IWW, COSCO Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of B.C., Union Gospel Mission, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, WAHRS – Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, First United – Vancouver Downtown Eastside, Pivot Legal Society, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, Chinatown Concern Group 唐人街關注組, Chinatown Action Group 華埠行動小組, Aboriginal Front Door, and Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative.