Pancakes for All, Homes for All: Launch for Tent City February 2011
Sunday December 19, 2010, Olympic Village/Millenium Water
85 West 1st AVE (Olympic Village Plaza, North side of the Salt Building)
PRESS CONFERENCE: NOON
December 17, 2010, Vancouver – On Sunday, December 19th, community groups, residents and allies will be serving a free pancake breakfast at the Olympic Village. The event will be a community gathering and a launch for the upcoming Olympic Village Tent City, February 2011.
Free pancakes will be served in the wake of repeated broken housing promises by all levels of government. According to organizer Lena McFarlane: “As the housing crisis only gets worse and more and more people are homeless each day, it is crucial that we come together as a community to highlight these broken promises and to demand action. At this Sunday’s pancake breakfast, grassroots community groups, friends and allies will come together to kickoff our 2011 campaign to demand action on social housing and an end to the gentrification of our communities, both at this site and in the Downtown Eastside.”
Tristan Markle, another organizer with Vancouver Action, states: “We’ve been waiting for too long to see action taken on housing. There is an affordability crisis in Vancouver, the shelters are shamefully overflowing, and the Mayor wants to sell low-income homes to the rich? I don’t think so. We have been fighting Olympic displacement since the beginning and we will not stop now. The Olympics are not over because the Olympic housing commitments remain unfulfilled. The time has come to rationally address the negative impact of the Olympics on the poor and working poor, and to reclaim the Village once and for all. You might call it the Olympic reckoning…with free pancakes!”
Tristan Markle: 778 836 9877
The Olympic Village is today a ghost town with hundreds of empty units waiting to be sold on the real-estate market. More than a hundred of those were purpose-built in order to house those who need it the most, while hundreds more were promised as low-income housing in the project’s Official Development Plan (ODP).
The amount of people living without housing has increased drastically over the past decade, and the number continues to rise with every new development. Vancouver residents are being pushed out onto the street by rising housing costs, lack of social housing, and accelerated gentrification.
In April 2010, the social housing component of the Olympic Village was handed over to the real-estate market. The original 1/3rd affordable non-market housing was cut to merely 10%, while the original promise of 1/3rd “deep core” low-income units has dwindled to a token amount, if not nothing. These changes represent Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver’s specific broken promises at the Olympic Village, but also their overall failure to follow through on the “End Homelessness” campaign that got them elected.
In February 2011, community groups, residents and allies will be hosting a Tent City at the Olympic Village. The Olympic Village Tent City is a citywide mobilization to take back the promised units of housing at the Olympic Village, with the following demands:
1) Implement original commitment of 2/3rds affordable housing, half of which is low-income. Place a moratorium on the market-sale of all promised affordable units.
2) Stop criminalizing the poor: scrap Project Civil City laws, increased policing, and discriminatory ticketing policies.
3) Stop facilitating luxury condo construction, real estate speculation, and gentrification. Follow through on community recommendation for the city to secure 10 sites for social housing in the downtown eastside before the next election.