This week marks one year since the tragic fire at the Atira-operated Winters Hotel. The fire, which occurred on April 11, 2022, was entirely preventable, displacing 72 residents and claiming the lives of tenants Mary Ann Garlow and Dennis Guay. On Tuesday, survivors of the fire spoke out, marched in the streets, and held a memorial for those lost.
The mood in the building was palpable, as tenants woke up in a new world they had helped create. PHS released a statement saying that a broken wire was found and replaced by sheer coincidence, but it was clear that the tenants had forced PHS’s hand, and everyone knew it.
This week, the Portland Tenants Union obtained a major victory in securing the immediate repair of the elevator in their building. This is only an inaugural victory and residents will continue to fight for the rights of tenants in supportive housing.
On July 25, 2022, the Vancouver Fire Service issued an order to decamp the newly-formed tent city of people sheltering outside on Hastings Street. Every year the tent cities continue to grow as the housing crisis worsens. Unhoused people and low-income SRO tenants are now creating an alternative community of survival and mutual support on Hastings Street. Earlier this week the City and VPD began enforcing the Fire Order, with events on Tuesday (August 9) that can only be described as a police riot.
In the early hours of January 5, 2021 – just five days into the new year – the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) executed a man in cold blood on East Hastings Street in the Downtown Eastside (DTES).
Defunding the police seems to be the topic for the last few months. Everyone is wondering: should it be done, or should it not be done. In my view it’s the right thing to do. There are just too many cops using the badge as a way of trampling on our rights and even taking lives.
Though we should treat the overdose crisis with the severity it deserves, desperately bleak portrayals in the mainstream press can overshadow the actual experiences, autonomy, community, and acts of solidarity among people who use drugs.