Protest planned to keep pressure on Vancouver to deliver 100 percent welfare-rate housing at 58 West Hastings

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      Two years ago on August 2, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson met housing advocates in the Downtown Eastside and promised a vacant lot on West Hastings Street would be filled with a building that was 100-percent social housing.

      “We commit to 100% welfare/pension rate community-controlled social housing at 58 West Hastings, working with the community to develop a rezoning application to proceed to council by the end of June 2017," reads a piece of chart paper to which Robertson signed his name.

      To ensure the outgoing mayor remembers making that promise, activists have scheduled a demonstration to be held in the lot—58 West Hastings Street, just east of Abbott—on Thursday (August 2) beginning at 3 p.m.

      "We invite all those in solidarity with the poor and working people of the Downtown Eastside and Chinatown to join us in our fight. Each day homelessness and the (loss of affordable housing due to gentrification) evictions crisis continue to worsen in our communities, now is the time to stand up and say enough!" reads a Facebook page for the event.

      "Together, we have the power to pressure them to build the housing we need."

      The protest is organized by the Our Homes Can't Wait Coalition.

      In 2018, there were more homeless people living in Vancouver than at any other time since the city began doing counts in 2005.

      According to May 2018 city report, there were 2,181 homeless people in Vancouver the night the last count was conducted. Of those, 1,522 were sleeping in shelters and 659 were on the street.

      The total of 2,181 homeless people is up from 2,138 in 2017, 1,847 in 2016, and 1,746 in 2015.