A number of social welfare groups in the Downtown Eastside are asking for the city to build social housing on at least ten sites to battle homelessness.
PIVOT Legal’s DJ Larkin says buildings with 100% social housing units at welfare rates are desperately needed.
Larkin says homelessness is only getting worse as people with few resources are being evicted and ending up on the street.
“We need rent control so that landlords aren’t tempted to kick people out so that they can raise the rent. We need improved maintenance so that the rooms that exist are adequate and we need more housing. Since the 1980s the federal government has failed us, the provincial government has failed us, we simply need thousands of units right now.”
Larkin says the problem has gotten so bad that even if the city complies with their request, the demand for housing to get people off the street still won’t be met.
“One building does not solve all of the problems. We actually need a system of housing that supports people and we need laws that protect people from being evicted into homelessness and we need laws to protect people in terms of rent control. Right now what we see is people are being paid a very small amount of money to move out and they can’t find replacement housing and it is leading to people living in our streets.”
Larkin says in the last few years there has been a lot of change in the Downtown Eastside with many people who call it home either priced out of the area or being left on the street.