“Ten Year Tent City” springs up in the Downtown Eastside, initiating a week of action against homelessness

What: Press conference launching a new tent city
When: 10am, Friday April 28th
Where: 950 Main Street (enter from Station Street)
What you can do: Come out to support! Follow @stopdisplacemnt on twitter for updates!
This morning more than a dozen homeless people and supporters started a tent city at the city-owned site at 950 Main Street. They have dubbed it the “Ten Year Tent City” because ten years ago, during a visit from the then-UN Rapporteur on housing for the lead-up to the 2010 Olympics, a very similar group of homeless people and activists set up at tent city at this site to demand social housing. The central homeless leaders of that tent city have since passed away, victims of the violence and shortened life expectancies of homelessness in BC – but despite promises the lot is still empty, and homelessness in Vancouver is nearly 2 times what it was a decade ago.

The major demand of the Ten Year Tent City is “Homes Not Shelters.” Most of the homeless residents of the new tent city have been recently evicted from winter-only shelters that closed 2 weeks after the annual homeless count, sending hundreds of residents back to the streets. But, as residents will explain, these shelters do not end homelessness, they are a form of homelessness.

Come to the news conference to launch the Ten Year Tent City to hear homeless residents speak out about why they are staking their tents together and why shelters are not homes. Speakers will also address the failure of the major parties in the BC election to address the most serious and life threatening part of the housing crisis by recalling the tent city at this same site in 2007.

The tent city is the first action of Alliance against Displacement week of action against homelessness as the new normal. The new tent city is calling attention to the fact that the 2017 BC election is taking during the worst housing crisis in BC’s history, in the midst of skyrocketing homelessness and constant deaths. But from candidate statements and platforms of the major parties, you wouldn’t know it. Rather than address this crisis, the major political parties are silent. Long gone are the days of Gregor Robertson’s unrealized promises to end homelessness. Now politicians are trying to bury the issue, making it a normal and accepted part of life in BC. We refuse to accept homelessness as the new normal.