A group of residents at a housing co-op has asked the City of Vancouver not to remove a nearby homeless encampment.
City bylaw officers have given people living in recreational vehicles and cars along Slocan Street and East 12th Avenue until Wednesday (May 26) to move along.
The campers have found support from 22 residents at the Kaslo Gardens Housing Co-operative, which is located across from Grandview Highway.
“We cannot believe the solution to homelessness is to use the threat of eviction to disperse this gathering,” the co-op residents wrote in May 25, 2021 letter to Mayor Kennedy Stewart and city council.
The signatories include Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.
The letter was made public in a media release Tuesday (May 25) by Vancouver nurse Will Offley.
The release stated that residents have called on the mayor and councillors to “cancel plans to evict the campers”.
Listen Chen is an organizer with Red Braid Alliance, the group formerly known Alliance Against Displacement.
The group has been supporting the campers, who Chen says number around 20.
Chen told the Straight by phone Wednesday (May 26) that the campers have been told to leave the area no later than today.
The campers and their supporters are scheduled to hold a rally this afternoon.
A Red Braid Alliance media release quoted camper William Cook saying: “They're going to have to do something extreme to remove me. This is my right to be here, this is a choice I made.”
“Many of us are standing strong and I'm certainly one of them,” Cook said. “We'll keep trying to defend our rights until our voices are heard.”
The campers previously said that they are staying put until they given social housing.
Below is the letter by Kaslo Gardens residents to city hall:
May 25, 2021
Dear Mayor Stewart And Council Members,
We are writing you with some urgency to ask that the city not proceed with its announced plan to evict the RV encampment across the street from us at Slocan and Grandview.
We cannot believe the solution to homelessness is to use the threat of eviction to disperse this gathering. If anything, cracking down will only increase the number of homeless people in our city. There are short term fixes available -- don't want garbage? Provide a dumpster. Don't want waste? Provide portapotties. Don't want campers by a school? Let RVs park elsewhere.
But let's not ignore that the only fix to homelessness - the only real solution - is secure, affordable housing for all. Let's work on that instead of victimizing the victims.
Cora Beitel, Jason Camozzi, Kathleen Camozzi, Ron Collins, Darcy Cutler, Diana Day, Paul Earl, Blanca Escobar, Kathleen Forrester, Angela Gochee,Trevor Groves, Shari Laliberte, Tanya Lebar, Barbara Jackson, Will Offley, Margaret Panton, Earle Peach, Darice Peters, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Karen Scott, Luna Sprackett, Naomi Watt