On Bears Cleaning Up Gastown and Taking Bets on the New Tent City Location

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown, deeply aware of his privilege.

The whack-a-mole continues: Majority of people moved out of Strathcona Park encampment. Oh great, so that’s homelessness solved, right? Or is it only 200 highly visible people? If we continue to ignore the root causes of homelessness (no, Robb from Penticton, it isn’t because they got a one-way bus ticket to Vancouver) then we will continue to see tent cities. As long as we continue to moralize this by blaming it on their character and not on very real policy failures, then we will continue to see tent cities.

Meanwhile, CCAP rips this article apart.

Lies and more lies.

Residents came to collect belongings this morning and found a fenced-in area where city workers protected by 20 VPD were trashing belongings into dumpsters. Park board workers claimed that everyone had signed a “waiver” – but they had not. Residents lost work boots and work clothing, items they had collected to move into new housing, and clothing except for what they had on their back.

Anything but “respectful”.

BC Housing says everyone living in the park was offered housing – but at least six people today said they didn’t get an offer. They took a few things and went to try to find a spot they could sleep in.

One resident was told that he could have a dog in his new place because that was the most important thing for him in housing – but when he got there, was told that he could not. He returned to the park broken hearted.

Katie Lewis, President of the Strathcona Nimby Association: “It’s been a really tough year for everyone in our neighbourhood but we are encouraged by what we’re seeing. And we’re encouraged to see a lot of people here getting into housing”. Let’s look at this housing, shall we? This is where they put tent city residents in Victoria:

This looks like a prison because neoliberalism views poverty as a crime. It’s an unfortunate by-product of the system, not something to be eradicated. It’s to be contained, managed and policed.

How else do you explain this:

People have this image that homelessness in Vancouver is a part of the social fabric, that it’s just always been here. After all, it’s our mild climate, right? No. It’s BC’s transition from a resource extraction economy to a service economy that serves people who sat on real estate gold mines long enough to become immensely wealthy. It’s the constant boosterism and desire to put Vancouver “on the map” without protecting our housing stock. I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s the austerity budgets of every level of government: Will Vancouver ever turn the corner on homelessness?

“Coun. Jean Swanson has reminded me a few times over the years that her friend, Sheila Baxter, published a book in 1991 titled, “Under the viaduct: homeless in beautiful B.C.”
In doing the research, Baxter had some difficulty locating homeless people.

Swanson shared this anecdote last year during an interview related to the city releasing results of the annual homeless count, which showed there were 2,095 people either living in a shelter or on the street.

“She actually had to go out and search for homeless people to interview for the book,” Swanson said…

“Swanson, who is in her 70s, recalled social housing used to be affordable for low-income people. So were single-room-occupancy hotels. Welfare rates were high enough for a person to pay rent and eat, too, she added.”

Wait, what? They could afford to eat too?! What a concept.

But yeah, poor people are scary. Just ask John Coupar: John Coupar reacts to tough questions from Gunargie. Now that’s what I call Mayoral material!

We need a mayoral candidate who will promise to defund the police: Watchdog investigates death of woman in Vancouver police custody. Fuck. If you can identify the victim or witnessed the arrest contact tips@vandu.org or phone 604-683-6061

‘I feel like we all failed her’: Grade 6 Saanich girl dies of suspected drug overdose. Even in their pathos they get it wrong. Bonnie Henry saying “don’t use alone” ignores the fact that the supply is poisoned. “Try not dying” isn’t a fucking health strategy. Drug use should not be a death sentence.

But then we couldn’t use it to scare our children straight: As death toll rises, advocates in Metro Vancouver tell parents to watch for signs of gang activity. If you want to disrupt criminal networks and stop crimes of survival, end prohibition. Take out the profit motive. It’s not rocket surgery.

If it’s this hard for one man to get treatment, then we are legislating death: I Want to Tell You How This Feels.

One mother I know, whose son is fighting substance use disorder, said it took five adults; multiple phone calls, emails and favours and driving through a snowstorm during a pandemic to get her son admitted to a treatment facility in Prince George. Her voice sparked with frustration. “There’s no way he could have pulled that off on his own.” Families have remortgaged their homes to afford treatment for their children

But how can we change if we keep framing drug use as a moral issue? I’m looking at you Mario Canseco: Canada’s Moral Compass Relatively Unchanged Since 2020. Tell me again how polite Canadians are:

To Canadians: Is using illegal drugs morally acceptable or morally wrong?

Morally acceptable – 20%
Morally wrong – 63%
Not sure – 18%

This is hard to watch: ‘Go home and collect your welfare’: Fight between B.C. anti-logging activists, forestry workers caught on video. This is the settler colonial project at work. This is what happens when you pit resource extraction against First Nations. “You’re turning the Walbran into Hastings Street”. That’s funny, because Hastings Street was originally called Skid Road, because logging.

This is totally normal: Over a quarter of West Van homeowners own multiple properties. Nobody should own two until everyone owns one.

Home sales continue to break records, but there’s a new calmness in real estate market, agent says. A calmness? Because there aren’t insane bidding wars on every listing? We don’t want a calmness. We want it to be in a vegetative state.

A hero emerges: NY man avoids eviction for 23 years, still lives in house he doesn’t own for free.

Teen accidentally moves into retirement community. This low key sounds like my dream. Endless casseroles, bridge, and all the Werthers Originals you can eat.

Did I buy a condo on stolen land? How purchasing my first home made me question property rights. Yes. Yes you did.

Ottawa adds five years to end water advisories for First Nations. Doctors Without Borders can install a clean water plant in 24 hours. Why can’t we?

This is nice: New First Nations murals coming to Cathedral Square in downtown Vancouver.

Look, I know Gastown is a ghost town right now but this is ridiculous: Bear spotted walking along train tracks in Gastown. The question is, will the VPD use this as an excuse to ramp up their budget by promising a fancy new Bear Patrol?

Foamer’s Folly: This is why we don’t sprinkle Tide detergent on rooftops, B.C. housing complex learns. Man, what are they putting in the water over there in Abbotsford? Oh, right. Detergent.

Satire of day: Proud Boys Canada breaks up so members can pursue white supremacy solo projects.

Sports of the day: The Skate: Just not good enough.

There are 6 comments

  1. It is not black and white!
    There is a lot in beetween on both side of the ledger.
    Defunct the police ?
    Why don’t you give the keys of the city to criminal gangs ?
    Rational and pragmatism will help us, not demonizing the other side!
    As a tax (glad to be , that is what society is about) payer I am disheartened to see that the problem is getting worse!
    I say let’s help people who are willing to be help and make the effort.
    Lock up the others!!!!!

  2. Absolute garbage article written by a clueless buzz-word slinger.

    Masquerading lots of links as “facts and evidence” in support of this blatant virtue signalling. Another sad boring Eat the Rich trope clickbait article.

  3. Shame on you Scout magazine for publishing such a one sided and inaccurate article by a person who clearly has an axe to grind and no actual facts whatsoever.

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