Letter: Downtown Eastside needs more social housing not more homeowners

Vancouver city councillor Jean Swanson responds to Michael Geller column

Re: “‘Abnormality has become normalized’ in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside,” Aug. 15

The two biggest problems in the DTES are homelessness and poison drugs. I fail to see how following Michael Geller's advice of having more home owners in the DTES will address either of these issues. 

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Market housing in the DTES is actually gentrifying the neighbourhood, pushing up property values, taxes and rents in the SRO hotels that low income people relied on for housing. As a result of gentrification and the lack of enough new housing affordable to people on social assistance, hundreds of people have been pushed to the street. 

If I had had the ability to "hijack" the DTES plan, it would have included more social housing and less gentrification.

Jean Swanson,

Vancouver city councillor

 

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