26 January 2010

UPDATE: Housing contradictions in BC, "the best place on earth"

Unfortunately, a sad predictable follow-up regarding Pivot Legal's "red tent" campaign to help homeless. Reasons given by City of Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang are ludicrous and insulting. See italicized below.


Headline: Micro-lofts promise Vancouver renters a break.

The fine print: "The new lofts in the building are expected to rent for about $675 to $750 per month, making them suitable for anyone earning over $25,000 a year, but out of reach of their former residents, many of whom were on social assistance."

Doesn't that make you feel good? That certain Vancouver renters will be getting "a break" - at the expense of  others, those our society deems of lesser, and less deserving, status?

Before you get all warm and fuzzy inside, juxtapose that news with this: 'Red Tent' Campaign Planned for Homeless during Olympics.

Pivot Legal Society "plans to team with local shelters to get bright red tents - emblazoned with 'Housing is a Right' and 'End Homelessness Now!' - into the hands of Vancouver's homeless."

In the event the group is denied permission by the City of Vancouver to do this, they are prepared to mount legal action.

"As a matter of constitutional and administrative law the City cannot have a blanket prohibition on any tenting in public places," says Pivot representative John Richardson.

ETA: Vancouver is likely to deny Pivot the right to give (well, I think it should be a right) red tents to homeless people during the Olympics.

Read that article. The reasons stated by Councillor Jang, a member of Vision Vancouver, the lead party on Council, are ludicrous and insulting to homeless people. For example, "We can’t support this campaign as it's currently set out. It’s primarily because of health and safety concerns.”

To which I am compelled to ask: Whose health and safety?

No wonder that, when compared to 272 cities around the world, Vancouver ranks number one in terms of unaffordable housing. It gets 9.3 on the Metropolitan Market Median Multiple. Any number that is 5.1 or higher is described by the Frontier for Public Policy as "severely unaffordable" and according to them Vancouver's number is "unprecedented in modern history."

Victoria is the proud occupant of the number two position, at 7.9.

British Columbia: the greatest place on earth to live. If you can afford it.

ETA: Given the City of Vancouver hasn't denied Pivot YET, homeless activists should raise a ruckus to make sure the city doesn't deny them. Likely it won't help, but it's better than not trying.

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