Sunday, June 18, 2017

Immediately after Robertson concluded his opening address, longtime anti-poverty activist Jean Swanson seized the microphone to speak for the city’s homeless and those at risk of homelessness. City staff allowed Swanson time to address the audience while at the same time shuffling reporters out of the room (media were not invited to the public dialogue portion of the forum.) Swanson said afterward that she delivered the “heart-pounding interruption” to ensure the city made housing the homeless and residents of single-occupancy hotels, many of them in dilapidated condition, a priority. “For those people, not having housing is life-threatening and there are things that the city could do,” Swanson said. “It’s not a life-threatening issue if you’re a homeowner or if you’re a middle-class person.”


Mayor Gregor Robertson tells us that the city of Vancouver has 20 parcels of land for development of low cost housing so why aren't these projects providing relief? Why are modular homes being considered?
I have seen the tent city on Main Street and wondered who the hell is in charge of this mess. Why are the poor, the mentally ill and displaced in tents in a city that has some of the richest people around? I guess what we have here is a captured political base of the sort we know of in Alberta. Remember the Katz Arena? We have the same captive political base that said that this project was a go while the homeless stay homeless.
You gotta wonder at the priorities of the political hires. Butter up the rich and starve the poor. And for the homeless? They can't even live in tents in Vancouver because they've been served with Trespass notices for the reason that low income housing is to be built where they are now camped. It's such a disgusting situation.
The problem of homelessness is independent of the problem of a bubble market in Vancouver. This problem is due to the deliberate failure of government at all levels to help the most powerless and disadvantaged citizens. We know who our politicians serve-it's the rich. Not the folks on the street without a place to call home.

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In my opinion there is absolutely no reason for homelessness. We have the money in Canada to buy up land and make buildings so why aren't we doing it?  I guess the problems of the poor aren't of concern to the government anywhere.

Here is the case of the homeless in BC where they are living in tents in Vancouver while the owners of the tent city are trying to evict the homeless. But where will they go?

Time for someone --anyone -to take charge of this problem and immediately.
In my opinion, homelessness is a deliberate policy of governments at all levels. We have land. We have money. What we don't have is the political will to translate these matters of land and money-- into housing for displaced people in Canada who are homeless.
I've seen the tent city in Vancouver and I was appalled. Just as I have been appalled by the folks sleeping on mattresses outside in downtown Edmonton.
Why is government failing to address the issue of homelessness? Well the poor don't have a voice in our society. They aren't like the rich who get a hole in the ground Katz arena built with the efforts of a captured city of Edmonton council.
Nope. The poor don't get anything. We hear the promises of all levels of government and these promises are meaningless. Homelessness is a curable malady. We just don't have the political physicians willing to treat this malady. We only have the willingness to have this malady persist.

The focus of a forum Saturday on the future of housing in Vancouver abruptly shifted to those with no homes at all, when an advocate for the homeless took over from city…
THEPROVINCE.COM

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http://www.theprovince.com/news/local+news/27not+having+housing+life+threatening+activist+seizes+stage/13455191/story.html

'Not having housing is life-threatening': Activist takes the stage at Vancouver forum on future of housing

NICK EAGLAND(Vancouver Sun)
Published: June 17, 2017
Updated: June 18, 2017 1:13 PM
Filed Under:
The Province > News > Local News



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People discuss housing options at a City of Vancouver roundtable on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at the Hillcrest curling rink. The event allowed citizens to comment on housing affordability and to discuss possible solutions. JASON PAYNE / VANCOUVER SUN
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City staff get an earful from long-time advocate for the homeless Jean Swanson at a housing forum on Saturday, June 17, 2017.JASON PAYNE / VANCOUVER SUN
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Mayor Gregor Robertson said the city needs help from senior governments to crackdown on owners of rundown SRO hotel/rooming houses.JASON PAYNE / VANCOUVER SUN
The focus of a forum Saturday on the future of housing in Vancouver abruptly shifted to those with no homes at all, when an advocate for the homeless took over from city staff.
The City of Vancouver’s “Big Conversation” brought dozens of concerned citizens to the Hillcrest Community Centre, where Mayor Gregor Robertson called for a grand-scale housing reset to promote affordability, density and an increase in available housing types.
Following a week in which city council rejected a controversial Chinatown highrise rezoning application, residents were relocated from the dilapidated Balmoral Hotel rooming house, and homeless people at a Main Street tent city were again challenged with an injunction, Robertson told the crowd he would welcome ideas and criticism to help improve the city’s dire housing situation.
Immediately after Robertson concluded his opening address, longtime anti-poverty activist Jean Swanson seized the microphone to speak for the city’s homeless and those at risk of homelessness.
City staff allowed Swanson time to address the audience while at the same time shuffling reporters out of the room (media were not invited to the public dialogue portion of the forum.)
Swanson said afterward that she delivered the “heart-pounding interruption” to ensure the city made housing the homeless and residents of single-occupancy hotels, many of them in dilapidated condition, a priority.  
“For those people, not having housing is life-threatening and there are things that the city could do,” Swanson said. “It’s not a life-threatening issue if you’re a homeowner or if you’re a middle-class person.”
Swanson suggested the city back away from displacing tent-city residents, expand modular housing and enforce standards of maintenance bylaws to repair rundown SROs and then bill negligent owners.
She was applauded by attendees, who went on to discuss such issues as housing the homeless, improving rental stock and ensuring affordable housing for families.
According to a handout provided to attendees, average monthly rents for apartments rose 40 per cent between 2007-2016. In the city’s Eastside, monthly costs for condo ownership rose 60 per cent and for townhouses rose 70 per cent.
During his address, Robertson blamed Vancouver’s housing crisis on rampant real-estate speculation and investment as well as an economic boom “like we’ve never seen before.” He raised the issue of developers being focused on building luxury units.
“The way the market has gone in recent years, it’s completely outstripped incomes here in the city,” said Robertson, adding that city council is working with staff to correct that problem.
Robertson said 20 parcels of city-owned land, which he referred to as a “rainy day fund,” have been made available for partnerships with the provincial and federal governments to build affordable housing, including a lot west of the Olympic Village.
The mayor said he expects rental stock to rebound with the city’s empty-homes tax and with regulations for short-term rentals, which go to council next month, and said the city is working to expand modular housing to support those at risk of homelessness.
After his speech, Robertson told reporters he considered the situation with rundown SROs unacceptable but said the city is hamstrung by limited means with which it can intervene and enforce bylaws against slumlords who, he added, are rarely convicted in court.
“Ultimately, there’s a B.C. government and federal government role to be investing in income assistance, to be investing in the buildings with capital and making sure that we have low-income housing here in Vancouver,” he said. “We can’t maintain that as a city — we don’t have the tax base to do that.”
Asked about the city’s failure to house tent-city residents, Robertson said the site of the encampment is now in the hands of Lu’ma Native Housing Society, which on Thursday leased the land from the city to develop 26 units of housing.
Robertson said the city needs B.C. Housing to secure housing for those displaced residents, as it did with those at the Balmoral.
Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, the city’s general manager of community services, said that with the housing situation currently “so dire,” the city is looking at installing modular shelters to ensure an increasing number of unsheltered homeless people are kept warm next winter.
neagland@postmedia.com





Julie Ali · 

Troubling that we only have bleating from the leaders about the problem of homelessness which is acute in BC. I have looked at the rents for housing and it is ridiculous. A young working person in BC has no hope of buying a house; he can barely afford rent without roommates.

This isn't acceptable and really I see no reason for it. The government of BC could simply invest in low income housing; there is no excuse for the hyperinflated prices in BC. This is a bubble market in my opinion and when it bursts, the folks holding these million dollar mortgages won't be in a good position. Heck they aren't in a good position right now.

Once young people find they can't earn enough to ever afford a house they will move out of BC taking their talent with them. Losing young people will not bring down this market; it will go on until someone recognizes that buying a dilapidated house for over a million dollars makes no sense when they could move to another province and buy a mansion for that price.

I just don't understand this irrational exuberance in the housing market in BC. Surely folks aren't going to work their entire lives to pay the mortgage on a house just to be a homeowner? Does this make any sense at all? Move folks!
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Tom Cannon
i think it is funny that most people could care less about homelessness untill it might effect them, then its "life threatining" these people care about themselves, i think it would be good for most of these people to see the poor side of life as a homeless person, then they accutally might develop sympathy for someone other than themselves! boo hoo! 
LikeReply10 hrs
Ivan Hadanoff
The homeless don't vote. The middle class do. That is why the government is always pandering to the middle class and those below are just an afterthought and nuisance

Government has it exactly backwards. They give to the rich and work to protect them from the poor. In a perfect world they would give to the poor and protect them from the rich

It is not the rich who need help getting richer. They are more than capable of doing that. It is the poor who need the help and, ironically, when the poor are helped up they spend their money in the stores of the rich. I don't know why government is too stupid to see that but they are
LikeReply8 hrs
Julie Ali · 

Ivan Hadanoff Government is not too stupid to see that the rich don't need public subsidy; it's in the best interests of politicians to help the elite and not the ordinary citizen or the poor. For example in Edmonton, Alberta we have a hole in the ground Katz Arena that was approved by a mostly captured city council.

Meanwhile what does the city of Edmonton or for that matter the government of Alberta do for the homeless? They do the bare minimum. The only reason for the disparity in support is because rich people have more clout than poor people; what rich folks want, they get. Meanwhile we have the poor sleeping on mattresses in Chinatown for no reason other than the government of Alberta is far too busy spending $235 million of our dollars in a "loan" to big oil to pay for the orphan well program that big oil has more than enough assets to cover.

It's pretty wicked. But there you go. It's the way it is in Alberta and probably it's the same in BC.
LikeReply6 mins
Dave King
Homelessness occurs because Christy Clark has done nothing about rent controls and still keeps minimum wage at $10.85 nstead of stepping to $15.00!!!
LikeReply117 hrs
Ivan Hadanoff
The need for higher wages is a symptom. That is just changing an artificial price based on other artificial price changes. If it took an hour's work to buy lunch and the price of lunch goes up so that it takes two hour's work, then you need to increase wages by 100% to make it an hour's worth of work to buy lunch again. The problem is that nothing changed and nothing was gained. It still takes an hour's worth of work to buy lunch.

We are not going to do much by fixing symptoms because those in power will just work to raise prices again.

The whole problem comes down to our money system and specifically debt. 50 years ago you could actually save to buy a house. Now you can not buy a house with savings but you also can't start a competitive income producing business, go to school or buy a new car practically without the blessing of your local banker and his magical debt machine.

Debt and false credit is what has gotten us into this mess and until we fix that problem, all the symptoms will continue to hurt us and be the distraction

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