Why does the DEOD matter?

Why does the DEOD matter?

The Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District – DEOD for short – is the heart of the low-income community for a reason. It is the only neighbourhood in Vancouver that  is protected against real estate development by city policy. Because of these protections the DEOD is the most low-income neighbourhood in the city. It has the most low-income housing, the most services and resources for low income people, and the fewest condos and boutique restaurants. The area has been protected against the ongoing condo storm which is pounding the rest of the Downtown Eastside by a simple piece of city policy that acts like sandbag levees against a storm

Inclusionary zoning

The policy city council uses to make real estate investment and condo development unattractive to investors and developers is called “inclusionary zoning.” It’s called inclusionary because in the DEOD any new building, even an addition to an existing building, legally has to include 20% social housing. So far no private developer has managed to plan, build, and sell a condo project in the DEOD and make enough of a profit to make their investment worthwhile in their eyes.

“Development incentives”

In most neighbourhoods city hall gives developers and property owner bonuses and incentives for building condo towers. For example, in the spring of 2011 city council changed building regulations in Chinatown so that developers could build high towers where they used to be forbidden. Property values shot up by an average of about 100% that year. And by the anniversary of that rezoning one new condo tower had already been approved (“The Flats” at 219 E. Georgia) and three more major condo towers were going through city approval processes: a 10-storey project at 189 Keefer, a 12-storey tower at 633 Main St, and a 17-storey tower at 611 Main. CCAP calls city re zonings that allow developers to make more money “incentives” for development. It’s a kind of government welfare for the very rich. The DEOD is different from Chinatown and the other areas in the Downtown Eastside because rather than give incentives to developers to build expensive condo projects city policy is to make condo development less attractive and keep property values down. Property owners, investors, and developers hate this kind of thing and are always arguing against this city policy. They like it when the government intervenes in development to give them more benefits, but they don’t like it when government policy keeps profits down. If every neighbourhood in Vancouver was governed by inclusionary zoning then developers would have to make do and there would be nothing special – from a city-policy point of view – about the DEOD. But the DEOD is special because the city doesn’t put such barriers to profit and development in other neighbourhoods. So even though the land in the DEOD is cheaper than almost anywhere else in the city, city policy protects it from the real estate storms that are making people homeless elsewhere. Continue reading

What do Downtown Eastside Residents have in common?

What do you think is the main thing that DTES parents like about the DTES community? When CCAP asked a group of sex workers this question, they guessed things like “the school,” and “the playground.” When they learned that the top thing parents like about their community is: “Kids learning compassion and kindness towards others and open mindedness,” they were quite taken aback and moved to tears. When parents found out how the sex workers responded, they were moved as well.

In the spring of 2011 CCAP organized a series of workshops between different groups of Downtown Eastside residents to find out what we all have in common and how we can build community between groups we sometimes think of as separate. The story above is one example of what we found; we’re all closer than we think.

We asked questions to get at these insights and then shared these insights with different groups to build solid and meaningful community relations and solidarity between marginalized people who may not otherwise have opportunities to connect and learn from each other.

Learning like this can help reinforce the values of this community as a place of acceptance and help to preserve its future.

This is what happened during CCAP’s small project to bring together 4 groups of people to talk about community issues separately, and then find common ground together. The 4 groups who participated were sex workers, GBLT2IQ, single parents and Chinese speaking seniors. The project finished in June.

Each group met separately and talked about the good things in the DTES community as well as the bad things. Then they met and discussed common ground. All 4 groups agreed that there was a strong sense of community in the DTES and that we need more good social housing.

As a result of the project:

• A very interesting list of good and bad things about the community was created by marginalized sectors of the DTES and this can be used to build better understanding, tolerance, policies etc

• Four peer leaders were mentored, gained more skills in community organizing and can become more influential community leaders in the future;

• One of the peer leaders published an article related in a local newspaper related to the results of the project;

• Everyone who participated, including the coordinator, has a better understanding of who is interested to talk about their community which is an important first step in developing leadership in marginalized sectors of the DTES;

• Some of the 40 participants are staying in touch with CCAP organizers and already participating in events without actively encouraging them. They could become influential community leaders in the future.

CCAP Bulletin September 2012

The Carnegie Community Action Project bulletin this month is mostly announcements for upcoming events… September is a busy month! We are working on our newsletter bulletin now so stay tuned for news and updates later this week.

SEPTEMBER EVENTS

1. Save Social Housing Coalition meeting, Wednesday September 12, 7pm at Carnegie Theatre
2. Women’s Housing March, Saturday September 15, 1:30pm at Cordova and Columbia
3. Women speak out against pipelines, Friday September 21, 7pm at Aboriginal Friendship Centre
4. The War Stops Here! Gathering against drug prohibition, Saturday September 22, 9:30am-6pm at Oppenheimer Park
5. What we are hearing in the DTES Local Area Planning Process, Friday September 28 at the Japanese Language Hall, time TBA.

Save Social Housing Coalition BC
Wednesday September 12
7pm Carnegie Centre Theatre

Tea and an evening snack will be provided.

We are inviting a broad cross section of organizations and people from throughout the Lower Mainland representing communities and people throughout BC including groups representing low-income, Indigenous, migrant, racialized, disabled, LGBTI2Q, senior and young people as well as labour and student unions and academics.

We hope that this coalition can be a coming together of communities united by our common struggle for housing justice and security as a right of all people and a social responsibility. We are calling this meeting for a coalition that can work for two demands focusing on making housing *the* issue of the coming 2013 BC-provincial election:
1. SOCIAL HOUSING: For a powerful provincial social housing program to build over 2,000 units of social housing in Vancouver and an additional 1,000 units province wide a year every year, and;
2. RENT CONTROL: For municipal and provincial rent controls that will protect low-income affordable privately owned rental housing by protecting the rents of housing units and not just tenancies.

Read the full announcement here

6th ANNUAL WOMEN’S HOUSING MARCH

Sat. Sep 15 @ 1:30 pm
Starts at Cordova and Columbia, just west of Main St.
Unceded Coast Salish Territories

* Homes for People, not Profit for Real Estate!
* No Slumlords, No Evictions and No Gentrification!
* Rent Control not Social Control!
* Homes not Jails!
* Homes not Pipelines!
* Housing, Childcare, and Healthcare for All!

FB RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/368896053180255/
Download posters: http://www.dewc.ca
Videos and photos from last year: http://is.gd/DQ5j8h

On Saturday Sep 15 at 1:30 pm, join the Downtown Eastside Women Centre Power of Women Group in the 6th Annual March for Women’s Housing and March Against Poverty.

This year we continue to march for housing, childcare, and healthcare for all low-income residents in the DTES. We want no more evictions, no more displacement, and no more gentrification in our neighourhood. We know that the growing number of cops and condos in the DTES is part of a larger
pattern to destroy and privatize neighourboods, communities, and the land. We want to live free: free from BC Housing controls, free from violence against women, and free from this system that is hurting and killing us.

We invite groups to bring their banners and anything else for our festive march. All genders are welcome and celebrated. Please bring your drums and regalia. This march is child-friendly and there will be a rest-vehicle for elders. Spread the word!

Email: project@dewc.ca or Phone: 778 885 0040

The DTES Power of Women Group is a group of women (we are an inclusive group) from all walks of life who are either on social assistance, working poor, or homeless; but we are all living in extreme poverty in and around the DTES. Our aim is to empower ourselves through our experiences and to raise awareness from our own perspectives about the social issues affecting the neighbourhood. Many of us are single mothers or have had our children apprehended due to poverty; most of us have chronic physical or mental health issues for example HIV and Hepatitis C; many have drug or alcohol addictions; and a majority have experienced and survived sexual violence and mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional abuse. For indigenous women, we are affected by a legacy of the effects of residential schools and a history of colonization and racism.

She Speaks:
Indigenous Women Speak Out Against Tar Sands

When: Friday September 21
Doors at 5:30 pm. Program ends at 8:30 pm
Where: Aboriginal Friendship Center
1607 East Hastings St (corner Commercial)
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories

Childcare & Feast (sponsored by the International Woman’s Climate Caucus).
This is a free event.

* FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/216667078461052/
* Web:
http://www.ienearth.org/blog/2012/08/she-speaks-indigenous-women-speak-out-against-tar-sands/

Indigenous communities are taking the lead to stop the largest industrial project, the Tar Sands Gigaproject. Northern Alberta is ground zero with over 20 corporations operating in the tar sands sacrifice zone, with expanded developments being planned. The cultural heritage, land, ecosystems and human health of Indigenous communities including the Mikisew Cree First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Fort McMurray First Nation, Fort McKay Cree Nation, Beaver Lake Cree First Nation Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, and the Metis, are being sacrificed for oil money in what has been termed a “slow industrial genocide”.

Infrastructure projects linked to the tar sands expansion such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, Kinder Morgan pipeline, Ontario Line 9 reversal, and the Keystone XL pipeline threaten Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.

Join us to hear from Indigenous women at the front line of defending the land and communities from tar sands development and expansion.

* Ta’Kaiya Blaney is a Sliammon Nation youth who made headlines when she wrote a song to speak up against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. Since then, she has been a strong Indigenous youth voice locally and internationally advocating to protect the coast and the land against big oil.

* Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Dene from the Athbasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta, Canada. She is currently the Communications Coordinator for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, who have recently filed a suit against oil giant Shell Oil Canada for their open-pit mining projects.

* Suzanne Dhaliwal is the co-founder of the UK Tar Sands Network, which works in solidarity with the Indigenous Environmental network to campaign against UK corporations and financial institutions invested in the Alberta Tar Sands.

* Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. She has been working as an advocate for Indigenous rights for the past 10 years. She has worked with organizations like Redwire Native Media Society and Indigenous Media Arts Society. She has joined Greenpeace as a tar sands
climate & energy campaigner.

This event is organized by the Indigenous Environmental Network. IEN is an alliance of grassroots Indigenous Peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining, and respecting traditional teachings and natural laws.

This event is supported by Aboriginal Front Door, Alliance for Peoples Health, Council of Canadians, Indigenous Action Movement, Mining Justice Alliance, No One Is Illegal – Vancouver Unceded Coast Salish Territories, Occupy Vancouver Environmental Justice Working Group, Pipe Up Network, Purple Thistle Center, Rabble.ca, Streams of Justice, Tanker Free BC, Western Wilderness Committee and the International Woman’s Climate Caucus.

For more information:
Clayton Thomas Muller: monsterredlight@gmail.com
Sheila Muxlow: sheila.muxlow@gmail.com
Harsha Walia: hwalia8@gmail.com or 778 885 0040
Maryam Adrangi: madrangi@canadians.org

THE WAR STOPS HERE!
Ending drug prohibition in the DTES and beyond
– A Community Dialogue -

Saturday, Sept 22, 2012
9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Oppenheimer Park, Downtown Eastside
Vancouver, BC
Unceded Coast Salish Territory

Drug Prohibition uses criminalization as a means to reduce or eliminate the production, distribution and use of certain substances. As a social policy, it has been a costly failure. The financial and material resources necessary to implement it are staggering, and the various human and social costs to individuals, families and communities caught in the drug war are devastating. The persistence of prohibition, despite its obvious futility, indicates that it serves other purposes or interests. It has long functioned as a tool of race and class based social control, legitimized the expansion of the state’s militarized policing powers, and been used to justify and fund imperialist intervention and proxy wars.

On the local front, the Downtown Eastside has borne the wounds, fractures, diseases and deaths that prohibition produces, and its residents carry the alienating stigma that criminalization generates. Overdose deaths, murdered and missing women, the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hep C, child apprehensions, needless incarceration, daily police harassment and intimidation –all flow from living under the regime of drug prohibition.

It’s time to move beyond prohibition towards a framework that recognizes the desire for altered states of consciousness as a normal part of human behaviour, that develops drug policy based on public health and social justice, and that begins to address the social roots of addiction. We need to set drug use within the framework of collective self-determination and social justice not punishment and exclusion.

The Downtown Eastside has long been ground zero for the war on drugs, but it is also the site of some of the most powerful and dynamic challenges to the paradigm of prohibiton. The drug war began here over a century ago; now it’s time to stop it here.

This community gathering will open up space for popular education and dialogue around prohibition and build momentum toward strategies for social change.

Special guest speaker: Deborah Peterson Small

Deborah Small is Executive Director of Break the Chains, an organization that seeks to build a national movement within communities of color against punitive drug policies. Break the Chains’ ultimate goal is to implement progressive drug reform policies that promote racial justice and human rights. Before assuming her position at Break the Chains, she was Director of Public Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Sponsored by:

Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
End Prohibition Project

Downtown Eastside Local Area Planning Process
WHAT WE ARE HEARING IN THE DTES LAPP
Public report-back event

Friday September 28
Japanese Language Hall

Since the DTES Local Area Planning Process (LAPP) started in the spring the 30-member committee has worked with city staff in four major workshops, held meetings with agencies and communities not on the LAPP committee, and organized a process to measure the social impact of development on the DTES low-income community. This event will be a milestone in the planning process as the committee and staff publicly present together on the outcomes of those outreach and workshop meetings and discussions.

Everyone who is interested in the future of the Downtown Eastside is welcome to attend this event to hear about the work of the LAPP and add to our vision of the future of the neighbourhood.