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Ccap Presentation On Dtes Vision

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For the last 2 years CCAP has been visioning, mapping and planning with low income DTES residents to figure out what they want for their community. It is almost complete. Watch for it on our blog …

For the last 2 years CCAP has been visioning, mapping and planning with low income DTES residents to figure out what they want for their community. It is almost complete. Watch for it on our blog next month. Meanwhile Jean and Wendy from CCAP, Gena from the Carnegie Association, Hugh from VANDU and Stacey from the DTES Neighbourhood House presented a power point on our vision and the actions necessary to improve the DTES from a residents' perspective to a team of city staff who work on DTES issues. The meeting went quite well. We got some pointers and hopefully helped them understand more fully that the DTES is a real community with many important assets.

We’re hoping our newly formed Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council will, with its strong basis of unity and unique elected representation and structure, work to implement this vision.

Published in: News & Politics

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  • Our purpose today   We want to show you the Vision that low income DTES residents have for their community; To make a case to preserve the DTES assets; and, To convince you to help us implement this vision
  • Last September, we told you about the DTES community assets revealed in our mapping process and said we were considering a 10 year stabilization plan.   To refresh your memory, the assets we documented were: Social housing provides a stable base for thousands of residents Many residents feel connected to a rich cultural and community heritage; Necessities are cheap or free and nearby; Health and social services are close, available, needed and appreciated; Residents like being where there are many places to volunteer and participate; Green spaces help residents make a connection to nature and have become spiritually important; Many residents have empathy for homeless people and people with health and/or addiction issues; Residents feel accepted and at home in the DTES; The sense of community is strong; Because the DTES is a poor community and people experience many human rights violations, many residents work for social justice.   And, after feedback from the community, we added another one: -Arts practices and programs involve many community members;   We put forward the idea of a 10 year stabilization plan where the assets and tenure of low income DTES residents could be secured before condos were allowed to overwhelm the neighbourhood and destroy the assets.
  • What’s happened in the DTES since we met with you in September?   Since then:   The HAHR was passed with 7 more 15-storey condo buildings, WW opened, hotel rooms near Woodward’s are being held empty like at the Chelsea, the Argyle and the Colonial, residents were evicted and hotels converted at the Golden Crown and businesses are upscaling.   CCAP held 3 planning days with 44 DTES residents & with the help of Consultant, Kathy Coyne, to hash out vision, values and actions for DTES future. We published a draft vision for the neighbourhood called “Seeing it our way” and got feedback from residents on it.   (Jean) ---- This whole process was a huge amount of work—we connected with 1200 people, through mapping, visioning, a questionnaire. We meticulously facilitated planning days, feedback days, --everyone having their say and agreeing with what was accepted. CCCA, VANDU and Access for Chinese Canadians formed a DTES Neighbourhood Council based on representation by population which will hopefully be able to work on implementing this vision.  
  • Our vision sees the DTES as a strong, humanistic community with many assets. It sees low-income DTES residents who experience their own lives in their own neighbourhood as the experts on how to build on the strengths of the community to get needed improvements. Here is our Vision statement: Our Vision is to: Honour the Coast Salish people on whose unceded Traditional Territory the DTES resides. Celebrate our strong community of urban Aboriginal and low-income people of many ancestries, abilities, cultures, health conditions, genders, ages and sexual orientations. Put people first and welcome all who advocate for affordable low-income housing and respect our vibrant community values. Ensure low-income people have affordable homes and access to resources to meet our needs. Unite in fair processes and act in peaceful and necessary ways to expand our abilities, overcome adversity and protect our community.
  • Here are our Community Values : Working for justice and the community; Strengthening our community; Respecting each other and nature; Making decisions about our own neighbourhood; Accepting people without judgment; Cooperating; Appreciating diversity;
  • Caring; Respecting all generations their roles in creating a healthy community; Providing sanctuary for people who aren’t welcome in other places; Building harmony; Empathizing with those who are suffering and honouring empathy knowledge.  
  • Our vision and values:   We propose that our vision and values be the foundation for and give guidance to future development in the DTES and we seek to work with the City, landowners, community organizations, agencies, businesses and residents to that end. We believe that the city should give priority to the majority low income DTES residents and what they know and want when making decision about the neighbourhood.
  • We’re not against change . When we say that we want to slow down condos people often jump to the conclusion that we don’t want any change in the DTES. We do want change and this is some of the change that the residents we talked to pretty much agree on, changes that will actually help current low income DTES residents. We all realize that this kind of change will require a lot of work by residents, DTES groups and agencies, the city, province and federal government and others. And we are in the process of forming a DTES resident council to work on some of these changes. We’re thinking of John McKnight’s model of dividing the changes that we need into things that can be done by residents alone, things that can be done by residents with some help and things that require a major commitment from government. Our community is used to working hard for what we need—all the social housing, CRAB park, INSITE, stopping the freeway-- all seemed impossible at one time, but our community persevered and intends to do that now. Here are the actions or changes that low income people want for the neighbourhood:
  • Our vision includes an implementation plan based on these actions:   Build social housing for low-income people   This vision calls for a variety of housing types, affordable to low-income people. Aboriginal housing, new housing for people living in SROs, supportive housing, independent living housing, housing for families and children, housing for seniors, housing for people with disabilities, communal and co-op housing, intergenerational housing, and housing for couples.   Tackle systemic poverty (these measures will also improve health)   Increase welfare, employ residents etc. The full list is on your handout.   Slow the pace of neighbourhood change   Develop and implement a plan to preserve the assets and secure the tenure of the existing Aboriginal and low-income community before more unaffordable condos are built because condos increase property values and speed up economic and social forces that displace low-income residents. The city could:   -Use zoning and other city planning tools to implement this plan; -Consider a ten year Stabilization Plan for the DTES, to give time for more harm reduction and low-income housing to be built; -Ensure non-resident post secondary students do not take over housing like SROs and services like the Carnegie cafeteria used by current low-income residents.
  • (Implement the DTES vision by)   Improving safety   There are lots of actions summarized on your handout. Here are a few:   1. Under “Police” Develop a program where DTES residents educate police on mental health issues, cultural customs, empathy, anti-racism, poverty, and non-violent conflict resolution; Use peer safety patrols who reflect the diversity of the low-income community; Hold an inquiry into why it took police so long to look for our community’s missing women.   2. Work on a strategy to reduce the numbers of security guards: 3. Reduce the numbers and impact of non resident drinkers: 4. Work with the City and Province to replace the current illegal drug market with a regulated legal market based on public health and human rights principles. This could be the DTES’s legacy for the world. There are other points in the handout.
  • (To implement our vision we need to….)   Improve health services, especially to provide treatment on demand, create mechanisms so that health facilities have resident boards, and ensure free, cheap, nutritious food is available to all residents – to name a few actions. Support and fund DTES arts and culture: Work with the existing Downtown Eastside creative community and Aboriginal artists to secure their space in the cultural development of the neighbourhood;   Embrace the history of the DTES founding Aboriginal, Chinese, Japanese, and working class communities. This point is really important. The DTES deserves to continue as a unique culturally distinct, low-income district. Heritage is not about buildings and monuments. Our neighbourhood has a lot of character that is based on these founding marginalized communities. They shouldn’t be dispersed. Will we speak nostalgically of the DTES in the future, like we speak of Hogan’s Alley and Japantown now?
  • (In order to implement the vision we need to….)   Develop an economy that serves and employs local residents There are a bunch of actions on your handout including keeping chain stores and franchises out of the DTES to preserve the character.   Ensure public spaces are sufficient, safe, and welcoming. Some key actions residents agreed with are: Create more quiet green spaces; Create safer pedestrian spaces; Create more accessible public washrooms, drinking fountains and benches without bars on them, mail boxes and telephones; Build in extra public space before adding more residents to the area.   Respect existing historical and neighbourhood scale
  • The vision could be implemented if we:   Involve DTES residents in neighbourhood decisions.   Build grassroots governance in all aspects of DTES life where decisions centre on the strengths, needs and opportunities for Aboriginal and low-income residents. Suggestions for actions included: - Make Business Improvement Associations more accountable to low income DTES residents; - Encourage agencies and housing providers to have resident boards. Our vision could be implemented if we:  Found ways to attract more children   If we: Created an image of the DTES that reflects its many assets and strong sense of community. And if we: Preserved the founding historical communities: The Aboriginal, Working Class, Chinese and Japanese communities.
  • We need your help to make a case for this vision.   Our neighbourhood is special.   The DTES has problems but also has assets that other neighbourhoods don’t have. It’s a place of sanctuary: Why do people move to the DTES? It’s not just cheap rent. It’s because the DTES is accepting. It is a place of sanctuary where people who are suffering and/or discriminated against feel at home and get help. In our mapping and visioning people told us this over and over. They said this acceptance was basic to their recovery from addictions. We want this acceptance to grow here and become a model for other communities. We don’t want our suffering people driven away from life-saving services.   It’s a centre for action for basic human rights: Because people in the DTES are so poor, it is a centre of the struggle for human rights that apply to people in the rest of the city and the world. If the city supports us to replace the illegal drug market with a regulated legal one, that could be a first for the country and the world. It’s worth fighting for. If you listen to DTES residents, this area could be a model for establishing relations between police and low income people—a model for the rest of the country and world. Our DTES MP is fighting to make housing a human right. Our Pivot Legal is starting a national red tent campaign for a national housing strategy. Our DTES community leaders are going across the province helping others work on safe injection sites.   It’s a place where new ideas and alternatives arise: Look at our Action recommendations: Residents on agency boards, peer safety patrols….residents educating police etc. These are ideas that wouldn’t come from a different neighbourhood, but they are good ideas and deserve to be worked on. Vancouver could be a model of treating its low income people as human beings, listening to them and acting on what they say, not simply pushing them out, improving façades in their neighbourhood, “diluting” them with richer people.   See CCAP post for why we are a.special community
  • Implementing the vision:   Here’s what residents are doing: We’ve started a Neighbourhood Council called the DNC. Since December we’ve had 4 general meetings attended by 60-100 residents at each meeting. We’ve had some very well attended committee meetings and have already unity statement and a steering committee based on a unique model, invented by residents, of representation by housing type. This group could do the city’s LAPP. Here’s the structure:   5 seats for social housing 5 seats for hotels 2 seats for market housing 1 seat for homeless (3 people are elected for this 1 seat to ensure someone is always there) 5 more seats are at large positions that are available for under-represented groups based on gender, race, sub area etc.   There are big chunks of the vision that DNC (DTES Neighbourhood Council) can work on, parts they need help with and parts that only others can do.    
  • So that’s where we are now. And of course we’d like your help and council’s help in getting these kinds of changes for our neighbourhood.   We think that now is the time to counteract the WW experiment and the encouragement of more market housing in the DTES with some actions to prevent more displacement, preserve and enhance community assets and implement the vision. ********************* Questions for staff:   If you were our advisors or staff, how would you go about implementing this vision? Do you see any strong points in it? What do you like about it? What are the challenges with it? Can the LAPP be done by the DNC with the city? Do you agree that the future of the DTES should be based on its assets?   Do you think the assets can be preserved if condos dominate?   How much of a say do you think the low income majority should have in the future of the neighbourhood? Is it ok for the future to be determined almost entirely by people who are rich enough to buy property?   Would they commit to supporting more businesses that serve low income residents?   Is it that they don’t think condos should be slowed down or that they don’t have tools or don’t want to use the tools that could be used? What about all the places in the DTES Housing Plan where it talks about implementing rate of change policies if condos outpace social housing?   Is Gastown the vision for the whole DTES that city is pushing?   What planning processes/tools could slow down condos?
  • Transcript

    • 1.
      • Show you our Vision for the DTES;
      • Make a case for preserving our community assets;
      • Convince you to help us implement our Vision.
    • 2.  
    • 3.
      • We told you about the DTES assets and 10 year stabilization plan
      • HAHR, Woodwards opened, hotels upscaling, rents increasing;
      • CCAP held 3 planning days;
      • DTES groups formed a resident’s council.
    • 4.
      • Honour the Coast Salish people on whose unceded Traditional Territory the DTES resides.
      • Celebrate our strong community of urban Aboriginal and low-income people of many ancestries, abilities, cultures, health conditions, genders, ages and sexual orientations.
      • Put people first and welcome all who advocate for affordable low-income housing and respect our vibrant community values.
      • Ensure low-income people have affordable homes and access to resources to meet our needs.
      • Unite in fair processes and act in peaceful and necessary ways to expand our abilities, overcome adversity and protect our community.
    • 5.
      • Working for justice and the community;
      • Strengthening our community;
      • Respecting each other and nature;
      • Making decisions about our own neighbourhood;
      • Accepting people without judgment;
      • Cooperating;
      • Appreciating diversity;
    • 6.
      • Caring;  
      • Respecting all generations and their roles in creating a healthy community;
      • Providing sanctuary for people who aren’t welcome in other places;
      • Building harmony;
      • Empathizing with those who are suffering and honouring empathy knowledge.
    • 7.
      • Should be the foundation for future DTES development;
    • 8.
      • Lots of work needed;
      • Divide change into things that can be done by residents alone, residents with help, and outsiders;
      • DTES is famous for accomplishing the impossible, like getting CRAB Park etc. We want big changes in the DTES.
    • 9.
      • Build social housing for low-income people
      • Tackle systemic poverty;
      • Slow the pace of neighbourhood change
    • 10.
      • Improve safety by dealing with police and security guard harassment and brutality, non resident drinkers, and replacing the illegal drug market with a legal market based on health and human rights principles.
    • 11.
      • Improve health services;
      • Support and fund DTES arts and culture;
      • Embrace the history of the DTES founding Aboriginal, Chinese, Japanese, and working class communties.
    • 12.
      • Develop an economy that serves and employs local residents;
      • Ensure safe, welcoming and sufficient public spaces;
      • Respect existing historical and neighbourhood scale.
    • 13.
      • Involve DTES residents in neighbourhood decisions;
      • Attract children;
      • Create a DTES image that honours and respects low income residents;
      • Preserve the founding historical communities.
    • 14.
      • A place of sanctuary for suffering people;
      • A centre of action for basic human rights;
      • A place where new ideas and alternatives arise;
      • It’s a real community.
    • 15.
      • New resident council with unique structure;
      • Prioritize Actions;
      • Work with others inside and outside the community to implement them.
    • 16.
      • We have some questions for you.