Thousands expected at Vancouver housing rally today

By ThinkPol Staff

Thousands of Vancouverites are preparing to brave freezing temperatures to join the affordable housing rally this afternoon in downtown Vancouver, to pressure British Columbia’s NDP government into taking action two days before Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James unveils the much anticipated provincial budget.

Affordability Action Hub, an umbrella group of grassroots housing advocacy and watchdog groups, is organizing the Rally for Affordable Housing Action, which is taking place today from 2pm to 5pm at the Jack Poole Plaza[1]

“We need to stop viewing housing as an investment or commodity,” Coordinator Christina Gower said. “Housing is a necessity of life, and our communities are deeply affected by a tsunami like wave of destruction stemming from Vancouver. Its effects are being felt across the Lower Mainland and throughout all populated areas of the province.”

The speakers for the event include Raza Mirza from Housing Action for Local Taxpayers (HALT), Laura Gillanders from Richmond Farmwatch, Paul Finch from BCGEU, Connie Hubbs from COPE, Sat Harwoord from BC Green Party, and Ulrike Rodrigues, who has fought for protecting rental stock from Airbnb and other short term rental services.

“Unregulated global capital and widespread real estate speculation have driven up housing prices and driven out long-time residents,” the organizers wrote on the event’s Facebook page. “Empty houses dot our landscapes while homelessness levels continue to climb. Whistleblowers pointing to corruption emerge almost daily.”

“Residents across the Lower Mainland and beyond need to pressure government to ensure housing is accessible for residents of ALL income levels,” they added. “We are concerned citizens from diverse backgrounds working together to stop the housing affordability crisis from spreading, and we call upon everyone affected to join us.”

The organizers expect people of all income levels, ages and backgrounds to come together to send a strong message to the government that housing action, against the backdrop of a damning report by award-winning journalist Kathy Tomlinson of The Globe and Mail who uncovered how fentanyl dealers were using Vancouver’s real estate market to launder proceeds of crime[2]

“I want everyone to remember, that in order to build a better future one must always fight for it,” rally supporter Kirsty Garbe said. “If people do not go out and share their voices, and push for what we need and believe in things will never change.

“This is about our ability to live and survive nothing more nothing less.”

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