Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


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