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.
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.