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In late November, 2014, Du Na Phuong (Tony) was shot by the Vancouver Police Department at the intersection of Knight Street and East 41st Avenue. Du, age 51, was waving a two-by-four plank of wood on the east side of the street. No people were nearby and nobody reported being threatened, yet police shot Du within one minute of arriving at the scene.

IMG_0754photo by Erica Holt

The last decade has been an era of broken housing promises in Vancouver. Whether it is the undelivered housing legacy of Vancouver 2010, the sell-off of the Olympic Village, the ultimate watering down of the Woodward’s promises, or the Mayor’s undelivered promise to end homelessness by 2014, few if any housing promises have gone unbroken.

If Vancouver city councillors get their way next week, an affordable family housing complex in central Vancouver – Heather Place – will be demolished and replaced with mostly expensive market housing. That will count as another serious broken housing promise, because to date Vancouver city councillors have committed to replacing the affordable housing at Heather Place.

The official Heather Place policy report was released to the public last month, revealing that – despite promises – the 86 units of affordable housing at Heather Place will not be replaced on a one-for-one basis.

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Today there is an increasingly skewed perception about what the private rental market can and can’t do. In the face of unaffordable condo prices, think tanks and governments have promoted rental housing as an affordable housing alternative. The problem is that while the majority of us live in rental housing, that doesn’t make our homes any less of a speculative commodity. Unregulated rental housing, as much as condos throughout the 2000s, is today a growing vehicle of financial investment and real-estate profitability.