Carnegie Community Action Project condemns housing situation in Downtown Eastside

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      Hundreds of much-needed rental hotel rooms have been priced out of reach for low-income residents of the Downtown Eastside, a tenant-advocacy group says.

      The Carnegie Community Action Project today (February 20) released its annual hotel survey and housing report, which is based on data gathered from privately owned or operated buildings.

      The report shows the number of single room occupancy units in the Downtown Eastside with monthly rent of $425 or higher  increased to 2,042 in 2012 from 1,567 in 2011.

      The group says such rental rates are not affordable for people living on income assistance. In B.C., the shelter allowance for welfare recipients is $375 a month for a single person.

      “People on welfare can only afford $375 and these rooms went up over $425, so that means they have to pay rent out of their food money,” Carnegie Community Action Project spokesperson Jean Swanson told reporters during a news conference.

      The report also shows that only 159 rooms in the surveyed hotels have monthly rents of $375 or less, a decrease of 76 from the previous year.

      “Our report shows that these hotel losses are not inevitable but they are the result of gentrification in the Downtown Eastside,” Ivan Drury, another Carnegie Community Action Project spokesperson, told reporters.

      For the survey, rental information was gathered from 61 buildings in the Downtown Eastside.

      The Carnegie Community Action Project is calling on all three levels of government to take steps to address what it describes as a “housing crisis” in the Downtown Eastside.

      Among its recommendations, the group wants the province to increase welfare and disability rates and it wants the federal government to create a national housing program.

      The group also wants the city to purchase 50 sites in the Downtown Eastside over the next five years for social housing and halt condo development until there is enough of that housing in place.

      City Coun. Kerry Jang refuted the Carnegie Community Action Project’s claim the housing situation for low-income people in the Downtown Eastside is getting worse.

      “We’ve seen no loss in existing housing stock,” Jang told the Straight by phone. “In fact, we’ve seen an increase in the range of housing and there’s a great deal of social housing coming in in the pipeline.”

      The City of Vancouver aims to have 1,500 new units of social housing and 2,140 of supportive housing in the Downtown Eastside and other parts of the city by 2014.



      Pender Guy

      Feb 20, 2013 at 8:11pm

      Its obviously Pidgin Restaurants fault.


      Feb 21, 2013 at 12:07am

      the amount the government pays for housing allowances for those on welfare is so low its ridiculous. the lieberals are well aware people can't find housing at that price. The lieberals also know there are a number of organizations on the DTES which provide meals to those in need. People who do not want to be homeless pay the extra money and use the various charities then to eat. The lieberals are simply forcing charities to make up the slack.

      Housing has become very expensive in Vancouver. It just aren't those who live in SROs who are suffering. there are many families, on welfare, min. wage jobs, people on small pensions. there is no housing strategy for anybody but the wealth.

      Gentrification isn't the problem, its a symptom of the rising cost of housing in the lower mainland and no one is exempt except the wealth. The people living on the DTES are no different those those of the working/middle class who can not afford to live in Vancouver, richmond, or Burnaby.

      The protesters at the new resturant should leave the place alone. It is actually trying to provide jobs and make a living. Why didn't these protestors protest outside the homes of owners of buildings which sat empty and boarded up along Hastings st. for some many years. Why don't they go protest outside of the homes of those who provide substandard housing on the DTES. Targeting some one trying to make a living is just plan dumb. If the resturant actually did go out of business it would not change the living situation for any of those in the DTES. Change is coming, just as it has to the rest of greater vancouver.

      Rich City

      Feb 21, 2013 at 1:40am

      Kerry Jang and the City don't even have a handle on the low-income housing stock because they don't keep tabs on the rental rates of the SRO stock. They simply track if units are lost. Of course, he's defending Vision's housing record because they have only induced more speculation across this entire city through rampant condo development and their willingness to rezone for high-rise luxury condos wherever their developer friends demand.

      This is also the councillor that likes to insult neighbourhood residents when speaking at a public hearings against high-rise condo rezonings. He is about as arrogant as they come.


      Feb 21, 2013 at 3:03pm

      So here we go again blame gov. for the homless problem and low aid payouts,These people are lucky to get anything,try going to euorop ,no pverty pay.Maybe some of these people should look at getting a JOB,and if not moving away from this expensive place to live and go where there are jobs and its cheaper to live.The dirty thirdies did not have gov. support and people moved where there were jobs.BC gov. is broke ,and its vary expenive to live in Vancouver.Hey put up a tent city downtown and live free.


      Feb 21, 2013 at 6:24pm

      One might be convinced that to have a roof over your head is a human right. One might be convinced that people with adequate housing spend less time in hospital beds. The shelters in Vancouver right now are overcrowded warehouses for humans and they are barely any better than what you would find in the 3rd world. Wake up Vancouver, everyone deserves a place to call home regardless of income or health issues.