To the Federal Housing Advocate, Marie-Josée Houle
RE: Submission on the Review of Encampments in Canada
Evictions of Hastings Tent City
Dear Ms. Houle,
We submit this letter for the Advocate’s consideration in reviewing encampments in Canada. We write on behalf of two organizations currently advocating for unhoused and inadequately housed people sheltering on the Downtown Eastside (“DTES”) of so-called Vancouver, British Columbia, on the unceded, unsurrendered lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səlil̓wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations.
In our view, the sustained efforts of the City of Vancouver (the “City”) and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to forcefully evict people sheltering outside in the DTES, coupled with government failure at all levels to provide adequate, accessible and safe housing in a meaningful, dignified and timely way, constitutes cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
LEAKED CITY MEMO
Just prior to making this submission, we received confirmation of a leaked City memo (see attached) setting out a plan to accelerate eviction operations against people sheltering outside. The plans described in the document corroborate the legitimacy and urgency of our concerns set out below, as it reflects an increased reliance on police intimidation and explicit recognition that people will be evicted with no housing offers, or with temporary shelter offers only.