Tuesday Morning Paragraph – Social Innovation

unity-diane

Carnegie Community Action Project

401 Main Street, Vancouver, V6A 2T7

(604) 602-0379

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dear Mayor & Council,

Why should we preserve the Downtown Eastside as a low-income community?

Social innovation: The Downtown Eastside has a lot to offer. Because low-income people have lived, worked and played together in the DTES for 100 years, we’ve learned a lot. We are not marginalized here. We are the majority, about 75% of the population. Because there are so many of us, we have been able to create things that work especially for us. We worked for 7 years to get the Carnegie Community Centre when some at city hall thought funding a community centre for a low income neighbourhood would be like “pouring money down a rat-hole.” We built award-winning social housing projects like the Four Sisters, and North America’s first safe injection site. We stopped a freeway through our neighbourhood. We camped out for months to get CRAB Park. Then we had to file a Human Rights complaint so people with disabilities could get access to it. The On to Ottawa Trek, which began the fight for an eight hour day and unemployment insurance, started in the Downtown Eastside. We’re proud of these accomplishments and, given the right conditions, we could do much more. Because we are the majority we can elect representatives to lobby for our unique needs. The DTES has had a hand in shaping cutting edge social policy for the region and country.

(This Tuesday morning paragraph is brought to you by the Carnegie Community Action Project to help you understand why the DTES should continue to be a low income community and not be overwhelmed with condos).