Noon Friday March 22nd a resident calling himself “The Artist — formerly known as Homelesss Dave” began a hunger strike for social justice and housing the homeless. The hunger strike began six days after the official start of the 40th provincial election campaign on 16 march 2013. His message on Twitter read:
“We’re not about smashing windows. We’re about smashing the old broken paradigms and building new paradigms that are more just and equal.”
100% community-directed social housing at the Sequel 138 condo site with a healing and wellness centre.
100% social housing at the former cop shop at 312 Main Street with a community-directed space focused on women and aboriginal people in recognition of the horrific damage done by the Vancouver Police at that site.
That the City declare the Downtown Eastisde a “Social Justice Zone” and pass the policies to make it happen.
[Note: The B.C. government is charged with providing social housing. Sequel 138 East Hastings is a condominium proposal located near Hastings and Main, on the site of the demolished Pantages Theatre pre-selling as housing for “middle income earners”].
Dave’s 3 demands quoted on a letter to Mayor and Council were read by Councillor Adriene Carr at City Council meeting of 23 april 2013.
There is broad recognition that the homeless are not just ‘the poor’ but people with multiple issues including: mental illness, sufferers of head trauma, orphans without family networks, and members of Indigenous communities among others.
Social housing in Canada falls between the cracks of local-provincial-federal jurisdictions. The three levels of government—elected by the same people—have failed to provide housing for all Canadians.
The lack of a viable community plan in the cradle of our city, on the one hand, and the absence of viable support for all Canadians, on the other, signal the politicization of our social means. A wealthy nation has turned a back on the most at-risk members of our society going against even the common-sense bottom-line analysis.