Letter to Minister Robinson from Anita Place Tent City

This letter was emailed to Minister Robinson on March 7th, 2019, along with Anita Place’s resolution on housing, Homes not prison camps.

Anita Place Tent City

March 7 2019

Hon. Selina Robinson

Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing of British Columbia

PO Box 9056 Stn Prov Govt

Victoria, BC V8W 9E2

MAH.minister@gov.bc.ca

Homes not prison camps: Anita Place’s resolution on housing

Dear Minister Robinson,

Earlier this week, you gave Mayor Mike Morden, who campaigned on an anti-homeless platform and promise to evict Anita Place Tent City, until the end of the week to work with the Province on a “comprehensive housing plan.” We welcome pressure from the Province to intervene in the irrational, bigoted political climate of Maple Ridge, but were alarmed by your insistence that the Province’s housing plan include supportive housing—a form of institutionalized housing that in no way resembles traditional social housing models, where residents have no protection under the Residential Tenancy Act, are subject to gross invasions of their privacy, arbitrary rules, and increased criminalization and surveillance. In the words of Eva, a former tent city resident who lives in temporary modular housing in Maple Ridge, “where I live is not a home. It’s a room with four walls and a roof, which is better than sleeping in a tent, but it’s not a home.”

On Tuesday, March 5th, Anita Place held a rally to protest Maple Ridge’s terrorizing approach to its homeless residents. At that rally we ratified a resolution on housing, “Homes not prison camps,” which is appended below. We expect that you are familiar with the maxim “nothing about us without us” and hope you will use your power as Minister to help centre our voices, perspectives, and expertise in drafting any housing solutions in Maple Ridge. Your government has the resources and power to end homelessness—unfortunately, it has so far lacked the will, and demonstrated no interest in including homeless people in its housing policies. We implore you to begin changing this by adopting our resolution.

Sincerely,

Anita Place Tent City