Mon Feb 22th – As the Olympic Homeless Tent Village enters its second week, occupants are calling on the municipal and provincial government as well as BC Housing to immediately provide housing to occupants of the Tent Village who are homeless, under-housed, and precariously housed. They will be hosting a press conference on Monday Feb 22 at 2 pm at the Tent Village site.
Over the past week, hundreds of DTES residents, homeless people, and youth have been living in the Olympic Homeless Tent Village. According to Lily Loncar, an organizer, “While Vancouver hosts a $7 billion party, the Tent Village is a stark reminder of the growing poverty, homelessness, and misery in Vancouver.”
The Olympic Homeless Tent Village has been setup at 58 West Hastings, a lot owned by the condo developer Concord Pacific and currently used as a VANOC parking lot. For updates, articles, videos and a newly released newsletter “Tent Village Voice”, please visit https://olympictentvillage.wordpress.com/
“The Olympic Tent Village has provided a sanctuary from the streets for residents of the Downtown Eastside. We have been able to provide warm meals, along with tents, blankets and sleeping bags. But this is not enough, people needs homes. We are not leaving until the government takes real action to end homelessness, especially for those who are clearly relying on the Tent Village for their safety and survival,” says Dave Diewert of Streams of Justice.
The 2010 Winter Olympics has escalated the homelessness crisis in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the Greater Vancouver area. Since the Olympic bid, homelessness has nearly tripled in the Greater Vancouver Regional Distrct, while real estate and condominium development in the Downtown Eastside is outpacing social housing by a rate of 3:1. Meanwhile, a heightened police presence has further criminalized those living in extreme material poverty in the poorest postal code in Canada.
Instead of empty lots and empty promises, the Olympic Tent Village calls for:
1. Real action to end homelessness now
2. End condo development and displacement in the Downtown Eastside
3. End discriminatory ticketing, police harassment, and all forms of criminalization of poverty.