Tuesday, February 12, 2008

GENTRIFICATION PUSHES EAST ENDERS and WEST ENDERS OUT of HOME

Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC

GENTRIFICATION PUSHES EAST ENDERS and WEST ENDERS OUT of HOMES

While much attention has been focused on crumbling SRO's in the Oldtown area closing to make way for new housing, which in fact--new housing-- in my opinion-- is needed, in this area since it's not acceptable to have ghettos within a city. What I feared and had been hearing is that market rental accommodation in other parts of the city are being lost and people with jobs or on disability pensions are being and at-risk of being displaced.

In the West End, Little Sisters manager, Janine Fuller, saw what was happening and formed the Renters at Risk coalition to address this escalating problem.

Now it has come to my attention that a longtime resident of the East End, Sandra La Framboise, a professional woman who is a registered Nurse on disability and a personal friend, has become a victim of the gentrification sweeping the City.

Ms LaFramboise is not alone as all tenants in her rental building were given notices to vacate on December 1, 2007 with the stated reasons being given that the new owner was taking possession of the building.

Ms LaFramboise was paying $900.00 a month for a one bedroom and den. She managed to afford this rent because she has a monthly pension of $3,000.00 from the federal government. Ms LaFramboise was understandably upset of having to move and thought that she would find suitable rental accommodation in the East End but much to her surprise, she wasn't able to.

Sandra fretting by the day and quite concerned over her situation, feared being made homeless, however, finally managed to find a suite but it's located New Westminister, BC. It was the only place within her price range ($900-$1,000.00) that she could find.

It should be noted that Ms LaFramboise applied to a number of housing co-ops but was informed repeatedly that nothing was available. Same for Native Housing housing projects and she didn't even receive any replies from the Downtown Eastside Lore Krill Co-op's.

New West is a foreign place for Ms La Framboise, who has always lived in the East End of Vancouver. I worry that this forced re-location may exacerbate her current medical disabilities and this is tragic in itself. I am deeply concerned that this is happening to many others citizens in our city.

The City of Vancouver has struggled to address the increasing lack of affordable housing in our City, however, they are not the ones responsible for providing market rental housing. The province and feds must be brought back to the table to kickstart an affordable housing plan. Funding for co-ops must also be re-introduced.

While the plan by Metro Vancouver to begin a count of the homeless ( of which I will be part of) initiated by the City of Vancouver's, Judy Graves, is a good start toward getting a baseline of the homelessness, I fear though many others in similar situations as Ms LaFramboise likely will not be factored into the homelessness, at-risk or displaced count.

Judy, can you add one to my count already!


Jamie Lee Hamilton
tricia_foxx@yahoo.com

5 Comments:

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jamie thank you for publishing this article on my behalf. What is even more alarming is that yesterday the Remax Realtor representative walked through the site showing off the suite to potential buyers after I have been served notice by them that the new owners wanting to take possession. It leads me to belive that Remax is not only a realtor but now has become a developer and have purchase numerous buildings in the east end and are developing the suites for resale.

SL

 
At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Stephanie Smith said...

It's more likely that the current owner has lied to get vacant possession of the suite to facilitate an easier sale.

There are specific requirements in the Residential Tenancy Act that must be met if an owner, new or old, is to take possession of a rental unit. For an owner to evict so that a new owner can move in there are certain kinds of agreements and documentation that must exist before the owner can issue a Notice to End. And an owner is not allowed to evict simply in anticipation of a sale, or to make it easier to sell.

If you are evicted for owner occupancy and the owner has pulled a fast one on you there are legal remedies available.

I urge you to contact the information line at TRAC (the Tenants Resource and Advisory Centre) for more information. Their number is 605.255.0546; website is:

http://tenants.bc.ca/

Aside from the political issues raised here, there are also certain practical responses to the current housing crisis: *never* take an eviction notice for granted. *Never* assume that your landlord is telling the truth. Get advice from TRAC or from a community organization that provides legal advocacy - depending on where you live or whether you fit other criteria some options are St. Paul's, First United, DERA, The Kettle Friendship Society, MPA.

For information about finding an advocate, consult the Find An Advocate map at:

http://www.povnet.org/

 
At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie Lee,

Thank you for posting the article regarding Sandras' horrific situation.

I recently was given notice on my rental suite, as there is a new owner. I had been actively searching for new East Van suites since November 2007. I was overwhelmed by what landlords wanted to charge for some really bad rentals. And what they where asking in terms of personal information. Since I work at an organization that deals with housing issues, the Aboriginal Mother Centre Society, I know what is legal and how to protect myself. I'm fearful of what others do not know.

It is up to all of us to ensure that landlords/owners/developers are held accountable for their illegal actions. It is only getting worse for single, Aboriginal women and their families. And with the Olympics approaching, all renters are at-risk.

My heart goes out to Sandra, as I have always known her to be a wonderful, upstanding, proud East Van Lady!

I was looking at having to move to 49th and Cambie, my last resort. I was depressed that the only community I knew and devoted my life to, East Van, might not be my hood anymore.

With days to spare in January 2008, I was frustrated at having to prove myself to one possible landlord and losing hope fast, I went to view one last suite. He was a nice guy with a laid back approach. One handshake and one form completed, I remain in East Van! I almost cried when he told me it was mine. I know that the Creator was looking out for me, as this was not what other women are experiencing.

If there is anything that I can do, please call me. All my love to you and especially to Sandra!

Respectfully,

Grace Tait

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Thanks Grace for sharing your personal story with my readers. It would have been horrible if you were forced out of the East End. You have lived here your whole life and your work on behalf of our Citizens is truly appreciated!

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger Raigen D'Angelo said...

I am sorry to hear what happened to Sandra. It is a shame that we are loosing well intentioned people in the East end.

As community members we have got to make housing a leading issue in the coming municipal elections.

Every where I go I see help wanted signs; but who wants to travel from the suburbs for those jobs when they can’t afford the housing and transit fairs.

 

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