Stop Market Condo Development in the DTES!

The ripple effects of market housing condo developments have been destructive to the low-income community in the Downtown Eastside (DTES); a process we call gentrification.

As the price of real estate has gone up the low-income community has lost affordable housing, shops, and other low-income friendly spaces. While gentrification changes our neighbourhood into an unfamiliar, alienating, and hostile space for low-income people, police protect the condos and boutiques and City Hall eases regulations and provides incentives to developers to speed further market development. The displacement of low-income people from the DTES is a direct result of market housing condo developments and this displacement is reaching crisis levels.

We are concerned that gentrification in the DTES is occurring in a context of:

– Hotel room rent increases (only 12% of privately owned rooms now rent for the welfare shelter allowance or less) not tracked by the city and rent increases for businesses serving low income residents;

– Hotel closures and “renovictions;”

– The displacement of low-income residents from the Downtown Eastside, contrary to city policy;

– Increased homelessness measured in the last city survey;

– More harassment of low-income residents by security guards and police;

– The erosion of unique and authentic community assets such as a strong sense of community, feeling accepted and at home, empathy with people who have health and addiction issues, connection to our cultural heritage, a strong commitment to volunteering, cheap or free necessities that are close by, needed health and social services.


10 responses to “Gentrification

  1. Keep the DTES a ghetto. I don’t want the druggies coming to my neighborhood.

  2. can’t stop change

  3. Trinity Firth


  4. The DTES desperately needs an overhaul. Bring it! There’s nothing positive about keeping it a drug den. It’s not just about ‘low income’ people, as I am one of them. And I live outside of the city but within my means. The DTES is full of beautiful, historic buildings and has an amazing view of the North Shore mountains. I take the bus down Hastings every day – and usually see the same dealers the same corners, the same people shooting up in doorways, people getting on the bus for free with dripping bags of bottles and extreme stench. I don’t see what’s worth saving here – misery and ugliness? I know there’s a sense of community down there, but it is not necessarily a positive sense of community. Wouldn’t it be far more pleasant to live in a rural area with trees and flowers rather than frequenting back alleys? Vancouver is for all of us, not just for the addicted. I am First Nations and I enjoy my quality of life and give what I can back to the community. I don’t see anything positive about it’s preservation at all.

  5. I see your point of view, but you have to understand how frustrating it is to live in Strathcona and have these problems spill over. To not be able to let my kids play in the street because we constantly find used needles. Its been 20 years of the same crap. I agree with you that social housing needs to be built, but it needs to be built elsewhere and spread out. You don’t build a 300 unit building with only social housing. Hello, anyone ever heard of the projects? Not a good thing. Nor should you build social housing for recovering addicts and the mentally ill on the most drug ridden street in North America! This land is worth a fortune, it is going to be gentrified and there is nothing that ANYONE can do to stop that.

  6. James Russell

    JJ – you have said it so well I have nothing to add. Thank you.

  7. James Russell

    Ditto for Shanti.

  8. stop gentrification of the dtes-these people are entitled to their sense of community, however shabby or limited it may be;they know nothing else-push them out of the dtes by virtue of introducing gentrification, and, they will only move to other ares of vancouver, causing problems in other localities and neighborhoods. I used to live on th skids;i was just darn lucky that fate/providence, what have you, had othe designs in mind for me.Unfortunately, not all peoples of this area have been, or will be, so lucky.Gentrification is actually a form of cultural intrusion, and, displacing these people is not only cruel and inhumane, but, will adversely affect a larger portion of society in the long-run.As things presently stand in this day and age, there is too much over-emphasis on gentrification, and the price that comes with it,ie;costly and dissproportionate real estate hikes /rates and property values,and,what the heck is the sense in having these ritzy bakeries, other related ,all catering to the upper classes, in the heart of the skids, anyhow?As i speak of this, one such newly sprung bakery, with a french looking title, comes to my mind,and, i am sure the prices are pretty exorbitant .The last thing we need during these economically stressed and difficult times are such outrageously unaffordable shops as aforementioned.Gentrification is just another excuse for the ruling classes to throw their weight around, a reason for this clime of humanity to raise the property values, and real estate values, thereof, of neighborhoods and the properties involved, and, in general, to “sock” it to the working poor and destitute, and to push them further down into more misery and intolerable living conditions. When the heck are we all going to grow up as a collective species, and realize that there are more important things than money and damned over gentrification taking plae in cities, such as vancouver-we’ve gone well overboard on this one!! Too many getrification projects in vancouver is causing us to lose sight of what is really important and practical, money seems to be everything these days, while people and their well-being seems to be low on the priorities list in our convoluted and screwed-up society.These same projects are also making neighborhoods such as the mount pleasant area unaffordable for residents of long-time standing to live there, not right or ethicl on any level at all! wake up and smell the coffe, everyone!! we’re doing it to ourselves!

  9. “When the heck are we all going to grow up as a collective species, and realize that there are more important things than money and damned over gentrification taking place in cities, such as Vancouver-we’ve gone well overboard on this one!!” really well spoken Anonymous! The reality is there is very little affordable housing options for most on lower incomes. Not only that, the BC government cannot afford to overlook where individuals and, families will be displaced to. It’s a bottleneck situation. What I mean is, we need leaders in gov’t to stand up affordable housing and the disenfranchised who are victims of so called gentrification, whether it is out of the DTES or elsewhere. Sadly, it feels like it is only a matter of time until people get pushed out of their neighbourhoods. This is when we really need people in gov’t to advocate and stand up for affordable housing, not just projects either but places that are life giving. I grew up in Ontario Housing as a teenager, I know first hand what it is like. Once you are in a project scenerio it is difficult to move beyond that. Where are the individuals who will take a stand for this? What party do they represent? I will reflect on the situation of the DTES, W2 Media, and all those involved. Gentrification is characterized by renovation and improvement. My hope and prayer is: it will not just be for the well to do, the middle to upper income, those in Vancouver who have bags of money but for the those who need it. Can we redefine the word, the meaning? There needs to be a creative gentrification of sorts, one that the present DTES community can come to some agreement on. Mayor Gregor Robertson, please, please don’t give into money, listen to the voices of the community and seek an honourable and respectable path.

  10. JJ you live in a dream world. Social housing should be spread out around Vancouver? Do you think Westsiders living in Kits, Dunbar, Shaughnessy want Social Housing in their neighborhoods? They will fight tooth and nail to keep it out. Like it or not, the DTES is a community of people not all of them drug addicts or criminals. It’s their home they deserve to be able to live there without the fear of some condo complex coming on and displacing them. The rich have their neighborhoods in Vancouver why can’t low income people have a place in Vancouver to call it their own. I was born and raised in East Vancouver and the DTES was always low income. It was known as Skid Row back in the day.

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