Expanding South Vancouver tent city sparks debate

Tent city residents advocate essential amenities

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By MELBAH GRACE JACOB

The tent city near Oak Bridge and Marine in South Vancouver has become a focal point of discussion involving various stakeholders, including the City of Vancouver via BC Housing and residents like Roy Runions. In a statement to The Voice, the City of Vancouver, in partnership with BC Housing, expressed concerns over the unsuitability of encampments as long-term shelter, citing significant risks to well-being. Outreach workers are actively engaging with residents to raise awareness about available support services and community shelters, with the recent announcement of 1,472 shelters across Vancouver.
The Province’s “Housing First” approach aims to address homelessness by prioritizing safe, stable shelter. Collaborative efforts between the Province, BC Housing, the City of Vancouver, and non-profit housing operators focus on constructing supportive homes. BC Housing has delivered or is in progress with nearly 8,000 units in Vancouver since 2017, including approximately 2,300 supportive housing units.
Contrasting this official stance, the perspective of a tent city resident, Roy Runions, sheds light on the immediate needs of the community. Runions advocates for a portable toilet and garbage pickup, highlighting the practical challenges faced by those residing in the encampment. This grassroots perspective underscores the tangible, day-to-day struggles of individuals living in makeshift shelters.
Mike Burdick, President of Marpole Oakridge Community Centre, adds to the complexity with his strong dissatisfaction, deeming the situation awful and advocating for the removal of the encampment. The divergence in opinions among stakeholders reflects the multifaceted nature of addressing homelessness in South Vancouver.

 

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