Social Housing Alliance mobilizes in Burnaby, calls on volunteers to “fight back against developer power”

(MetroVanWatch is sharing this message as a public service.)Social Housing Alliance_logo

The Social Housing Alliance (http://socialhousingbc.com) and local residents in Burnaby are doing a community organizing drive to track, document, and fight back against the threat of a mass displacement of rental housing residents by the gentrification and condo-ization of the Metrotown area in Burnaby. They are calling for volunteers for an apartment door-knocking or street-tabling outreach event to get involved in mobilizing the community’s people power against developer power in Burnaby. To volunteer or for more information, please write socialhousingbc@gmail.com.

Metrotown and Brentwood Mall in Burnaby. Image: Google Maps

Metrotown and Brentwood Mall in Burnaby. Image: Google Maps

At the Social Housing Alliance monthly general meeting on May 5, 2015, residents of the Metrotown area in Burnaby gathered to discuss the eviction and displacement pressures they and their neighbours face, and planned the first steps of a fightback.

The Alliance says that the Metrotown area is the highest density area of all regions in Burnaby, with the lowest rental vacancy rate, and the lowest median income. It also has the highest number of diverse languages spoken at home. Historically, its low-rise apartments have been home to working-class, newly-arrived families and people pushed out of high-rent Vancouver neighbourhoods. It is also a neighbourhood on the chopping block as condo developers eye the area and City Hall has shown they’re willing to level all the low-rise rentals and displace their residents for the short-term monies of condo development.

Earl, who lives in a low-rise apartment in the shadow of the multiplying Metrotown towers, told the group why he was getting involved in mobilizing his community. “I saw all these high-rises going up and thought it’s a matter of time until I get my eviction notice,” he said. “But I have some optimism that maybe we can fight it. Getting together is an opportunity to take our city back. We love our community and there’s something we can do.”

According to their website, the Social Housing Alliance is a grassroots organization made up of volunteers from Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, and reaching out to the rest of British Columbia. “We are fighting for housing justice. Affordable, good, secure housing is a basic need for all people. Each of us needs housing to live a healthy life, to enjoy our friends and families, and to contribute to our communities.”

Burnaby community organizing drive outreach schedule, May 2015

Organizers will be present with all the materials needed and a short-training will be done before hand. There will always be at least one experienced person in each outreach team

6:30, Wednesday May 13
Door knocking, meet at Metrotown library

6:30pm, Wednesday May 20
Door knocking, meet at Metrotown library

9am-10:30am, Friday May 22nd
Street tabling, Burnaby Food Bank (West Burnaby United Church, 6050 Sussex Dr., 1 block north of Metrotown)

9am-10:30am, Wednesday May 27
Street tabling, Quest Foods in New West (7763 6th Street, at 12th Ave)

6:30am-8am, Thursday May 28
Leafleting transit rush-hour, Edmonds Skytrain Station busloop

6:30am-8am, Thursday May 28
Leafleting transit rush-hour, Metrotown Skytrain Station busloop

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