Support tent cities, homeless people’s survival and human dignity

Alliance Against Displacement is raising funds to help tent city residents stay alive. As winter conditions set in, there is an urgent need for survival supplies such as tents, tarps, ropes and sleeping bags. Warm and dry clothes are also needed, including handwarmers, gloves, rain jackets, and wool socks. Campers have been staying in cheap summertime tents for 6 months and they are all ripped and their zippers long broken. Nearly everyone is sleeping with layers of light blankets rather than good sleeping bags.

On November 2nd we had the first winter snowfall. In cold, wet, and windy conditions, not having adequate protection can be deadly. In past cold winters people sleeping outside have frozen to death, while others have been severely burned from using propane stoves in their tents in a desperate attempt to stay warm.

While we feel that providing emergency supplies should be a government responsibility we are also not willing to do nothing while people in our communities are living in such perilous conditions.

In addition to donating funds we are asking you to also contact Maple Ridge and Vancouver City Hall advocating for basic human needs for shelter, warmth, and food, and expressing your support for people living in tent cities.

Maple Ridge city hall: 604-463-5221
Vancouver city hall: 604-873-7000

Supporting tent cities enhances all of our lives as we fight together for universal housing.

BACKGROUND

On April 28th, 2017, one week before the BC provincial government election and two weeks after the release of the highest homeless count in Vancouver history, a dozen homeless people and a group of supporters took over a city-owned empty lot that the government promised 10 years ago to turn into social housing. The “Ten Year Tent City” provided a safe place and community building to 50 homeless residents for two months. On June 27, Ten Year Tent City was forced to relocate and created “Sugar Mountain Tent City”.

On May 2nd, 2017 homeless people and supporters marched in Maple Ridge from the soon-to-be closed RainCity shelter to a City-owned wooded lot, establishing another tent city named Anita Place in honour of Anita Hauck, a low-income community leader who had long-tented on the site and who tragically died trapped in a clothing bin in 2015.

Now more than six months later both tent cities are still in place, having survived harassment from police and bylaw officers, and attempted forced evictions. These two tent cities have become a home for unhoused people, a gathering and social place for the low-income community, a health care and harm reduction safe space for people who experience discrimination in hospitals and clinics, and the political backbone of resistance against anti-homeless hate.

According to the Metro Vancouver Regional District, there are currently over 70 tent city sites across the Lower Mainland and every week five people lose their housing and fall into homelessness. Shamefully, while recognizing the shortage of affordable housing and acknowledging that homelessness in the Lower Mainland has increased more than 30% in the past three years, government still refuses to provide unhoused people basic survival necessities such as a space to build shelter.

People living in tent cities have said repeatedly that they feel tent cities are safer than living outside alone, that the community and safety and security of tent cities helps keep people alive and provide respite from the physical and mental strain of daily displacement.

But rather than working with and listening to people living at tent cities, governments continue to threaten to displace people. On October 25th Maple Ridge City Council announced plans to return to court to try to once more apply for an order to forcibly displace people who have nowhere else to go. Anita Place leader Tracy Scott summarized the camp’s interpretation of the meaning of the City’s injunction application as, “They want us all to leave or die.”

FINANCIAL DONATIONS can be done with:

Due to restrictions on political activity, we are not a registered charity. Unfortunately, we can not provide you with a tax receipt.

Any questions about donating ? Please e-mail us and we will be pleased to call you back.