As filmmaker Ryan Sudds states, the documentary “encourages people to take a critical approach to the City of Vancouver’s work, and not believe Mayor Ken Sim when he says that they’re taking a ‘compassionate’ approach to encampments and homelessness.”
The daily seizure and destruction of belongings is part of the systematic decimation of encampments. This violence has happened in cities far and near, including Vancouver and Prince George, but also Toronto, Victoria, Nanaimo, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Los Angeles, Boston and many others. Cities aim to “invisiblize” unhoused people rather than create more livable housing.
We call on the Mayor, Council, and city staff to stop the decampment of Hastings and to instead redirect public resources to creating, maintaining, and preserving the affordability of dignified, non-carceral forms of permanent housing for encampment residents.
The uniqueness of this new drinkers’ parklet stems from its significance to the people who use it, its permanence, and its relationship to decades of drinker displacement. For over 50 years, public infrastructure in the Downtown Eastside has been targeted for removal at the expense of community residents, especially drinkers. Now, the community considers the Drinkers Lounge parklet to be an act of resistance to policies that have worked for so long to displace many of its most marginalized members.