You may remember we wrote about the Low-Income Land Use and Housing Coalition (LILAHC) back in August 08. If not, here’s a little update on who they are and what they are up to.
LILAHC members live, volunteer and work in the DTES and have 100% allegiance to low-income people of the area. The complete list of who is in this group can be found in the Aug 1 issue of this newsletter (found in the Carnegie Library) or on the ccap blog: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCAP started LILAHC when we realized a vision for the DTES was needed and that we needed the support and wisdom of many others to make it happen.
Right now CCAP (with LILAHC’s support) is mapping with low-income residents as the second stage of visioning. Another thing we are doing is planning a meeting with housing providers, businesses, revitalization groups and condo owners. We want to discuss issues arising from our visioning process such as health, housing, incomes, small business survival, drug use, towers, income mix and safety.
Is it possible that we could find common ground with groups like Business Improvement Associations? Well, maybe. We suspect everyone wants a safe and healthy neighbourhood. Preliminary conversions with a few business reps indicated to us that they may be keen on getting more new housing in the area if that will help get people off the streets.
Strathcona Residents Association call most of the Oppenheimer Area (core DTES) "Strathcona". Boundaries of these sub-areas will likely be a hot discussion topic.
Here are some more reasons why we decided this meeting was important. We hope it will help us get ready if council decides we need to plan for the long term future of the area. Also, we need to prepare for the city’s Height Review in the DTES and for the review of zoning in the Oppenheimer area, both scheduled to happen in 2009. Lastly, we think it’s a good idea if resident-driven groups convene discussions about the DTES instead of always relying on city hall or outsiders to do it for us. Convening the meeting may give us more opportunity to keep the format and the outcomes low-income friendly.
We hope the discussions will be successful. But it’s just an experiment. If it’s not useful for low-income residents, then we aren’t obliged to keep it going.
Here are a few clips out of the invitation that we sent out that will give you a sense of the tone we hope for at the meeting.
“We are also hoping that folks who attend the meetings will bring their sense of inquisitiveness and be respectful of all points of view, even those they disagree with.”
“Thanks very much and we hope to see you at the first meeting, which could be exciting, and, at the very least, interesting!!”
We’ll keep you posted in the Newsletter on the progress of this group. Wish us luck. ~WP