Saturday, March 10, 2007

Solution for Homelessness in DTES

Get the City of Vancouver to use Storyeum (100,000 square feet). Storyeum is a perfect solution. It is owned by the City. It is where the chronic homeless are (DTES/Gastown). The tourist attraction Storyeum no longer exists so this underground jewel is available. It was recently renovated. This idea was proposed to City Council last fall (2006). In January of 2007 the City said that the space was subject to litigation. What litigation -- taking inventory for a bankrupt enterprise. I hope that an investigative reporter takes this solution and runs with it. We need more shelters. We can't wait for years for permanent social affordable housing to be built when people are now sleeping on the streets.

Monday--I was told by the City that Storyeum in all probability will become a parking garage. Since we as a society have become desensitized to the poor, to convert Storyeum to a garage is very rational. It will provide much needed parking for the new Whitecaps stadium. And the poor can continue to sleep on the street.

What I do not understand is that in the DTES there are three properties that could be used for 24-hour shelters: Storyeum, the empty jail on Cordova and Gore, and the Buddhist church on Gore and Hastings. Existing shelters have exceeded their capacity and most non-profits are set up only to care for the chronic homeless in a piecemeal fashion.

If you want Storyeum to become a 24-hour community centre and shelter within weeks (not years), contact City Hall and voice your opinion:

Make homelessness in Vancouver history.

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