I got this email today from supporters of the year round shelters in Vancouver which are set to close.
I really thought that the best thing I could was to pass on the message by blogging it.
So here it is,
"Hello dear network of supporters. We need your help.
On Sunday night, 7 of us from Carnegie Centre Action Project, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, Vanact and Council of Senior Citizens visited 3 shelters that are closing:
Cardero - 27 April
Howe - 28 April
Fraser - 29 April
These shelters are slowly emptying out and now there are about 20-30 people remaining in each. Shelter residents have no options once they close. Many can’t rent apartments because of stigma from landlords. No social housing is available. Many will fail and be back on the street if they go back to an infested, unsafe Single Resident Occupancy in areas where they used to use drugs or have been “red zoned” by police.
As Marta from the Howe shelter said, “I’m going to stay right here in the alley. We are here because we don’t want to be alone. We got nobody. Everyone else has a family, we don’t. This is our family.” Marta said she doesn’t buy the excuse that governments don’t have money. She explained that each person in her shelter is eligible for $375 a month for rent on welfare and if you multiply this by 40 people per shelter that means BC Housing already has $15,000 a month to spend to keep her shelter open.
“I can’t go to an SRO”, said Chase from the Cardero Shelter. “I’ll go crazy and just end up back on the street. If this shelter closes, I guess I’ll head to the Super Value parking lot. That’s where we came from before they opened this place up.”
“If I lose this place, these regular meals and my guaranteed spot here, then I’ll go back to selling drugs to survive,” said Deanna, also from the Cardero Shelter.
Don from the Fraser shelter who is about 65 years old said: “Two women near IGA on Broadway got me to come here about a month ago. I’ve been outside a long time. I guess if they close this, I’ll be in the doorways, back laneways and
Kerry from Howe said: If this closes I’ll find an abandoned house. I have my Coleman stove. I hope nobody will notice me. If this shuts down, the government will spend more money on corrections. People here will be panhandling, living in the allies. You would think they would rather we stay in the shelter.”
Please help us stop these people from losing their ground, their networks of support and these makeshift homes. And call on governments to fund these shelters, build homes etc.
We are planning a vigil at these sites with the shelter residents starting on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. at the Cardero Shelter. How much we can accomplish will depend on what support people on this list can provide.
Here are the things we need:
Placards and banners
Please be in touch with Wendy at 604-839-0379 to strategize about how you can support. Financial support is welcomed if you can’t volunteer time or provide donated goods. Ignore this appeal if you are under financial and social stress as many of us are --
Don and Wendy from CCAP
Fraser and Dave from DNC
Nate and Tristan from Vanact!
Gail from Council of Senior Citizens of BC
PS, show your support and attend the media conference at the Cardero shelter on Tuesday at 10:30.
Address of shelters:
CARDERO SHELTER 747 CARDERO STREET
FRASER SHELTER 677 E. BROADWAY
HOWE STREET SHELTER 1442 HOWE ST
** Fir and 4th Street Shelter, run by MPA (???), closed already. The Stanley New Fountain, run by Portland Hotel Society, is rumoured to have a one month funding extension plus is already working on a separate campaign to keep that shelter open.