A showdown is shaping up between homeless campers in the unit block of West Hastings Street and the City of Vancouver.
Vision Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang says city staff’s been able to find alternate housing for the campers but there’s a core group refusing to move.
Jang says the conditions are what he calls deplorable with mounts of trash, an infestation of mice and rats and discarded needles.
“Sounds more to me like political activism vs. really caring about the people who live in the camp. And that’s what really is unfortunate about it all that many people who are poor, folks suffering from mental illness and addictions are being co-opted by the community groups.”
That’s prompted the city to issue campers with an official order to clear out of the site today.
As for whether police will move in?
“We have said today that we would like you to start moving and indications are many have gone of the 12 and we’ll play it by ear over the next few days and help people move out.”
But one resident at 58 West Hastings says it’s a tug of war between the homeless and the city.
“They take us, they move us and we set up somewhere else. I was the first one at the Art Gallery. My friend Ashley died, my fried Ty overdosed and we brought him back. I was brought from the old tent city at Art Gallery and they put me in the Dunsmuir House”
He says the city moves homeless people into places that could be considered ‘unfit’.
Back in August, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson met with the campers and agreed to develop the site into 100% social housing.
That project remains several years away, and campers said they had no plans of leaving in order to maintain pressure on the city.