This past Saturday, June 17, Mayor Ken Sim launched “Vancouver Beautification Day,” a new city-wide event dedicated to fighting graffiti and vandalism on public and private property. “Beautification” through graffiti removal may seem like benign neighborhood improvement, but this government has shown they are willing to scrub away people too.
With Larwill Place set to close and 700 modular housing units at risk the crisis is set to worsen, argues Jean Swanson. “We are [also] losing a lot of low-income units to fires, to rent increases, to demolitions for redevelopment, to scuzzy landlords who take advantage of vulnerable tenants to just lock them out (like at the Melville Rooms just recently), and because leases on the temporary modulars aren’t being renewed.”
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.
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.