Housing activists camp out for homelessness in Creekside Park during Vancouver Olympics
Dozens of people spent last night in tents at Creekside Park to draw attention to homelessness and housing issues.
This morning (February 20), participants in the Red Tent campaign "solidarity sleepover" arranged their shelters to form the words "Homes for all".
John Richardson, executive director of Pivot Legal Society—which initiated the campaign—told the Straight that between 35 and 50 people camped out for the night and over 100 showed up in support.
Richardson said the sleepover was put on to call for a national housing program and to show solidarity with the Olympic Tent Village in the Downtown Eastside.
"We all had extra blankets, nice tents, and a huge community around us," Megan McKinney, one of the organizers of the campaign, told the Straight at the park. "It was nothing like what it's actually like to sleep on the streets—sort of just a tiny little bit of what it's like to sleep on the streets—and I think for most of us it was really eye-opening, in that it was bloody cold."
Bearing the statements "End Homelessness Now!" and "Housing is a Right" as well as relevant facts and quotes, the tents garnered looks and comments from passers-by.
The park is getting a lot of foot traffic these days, as it lies along False Creek between Science World (currently Sochi House) and the Olympic pavilions at the Concord Place Community Celebration Zone.
After breaking camp, sleepover participants headed to the tent village and then on to a noon rally for a national housing program at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
John Richardson describes the sleepover.
Megan McKinney talks about the sleepover.
You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.