Downtown East August 2014

Downtown East August 2014: Special Issue on Tent Cities


rose2-copyVoices from the Oppenheimer Tent City

By Herb Varley

It’s about 12:00 in the afternoon, on a sweltering day about 4 weeks into the encampment at Oppenheimer Park. The camp seems to grow and become more and more intricate as days turn into weeks. People are sitting around talking, just like I used to with my brothers and sisters (…)

digvillage_shred-r-copyVoices from the Abbotsford Dignity Village

By Ivan Drury

The Dignity Village homeless camp in Abbotsford, established in the spring of 2013, is the longest running protest tent city in postwar history of BC. A handful of the couple dozen people who live in Dignity Village have been there since the beginning; they have moved with camp as it has been pushed site to site by court order and police directed trailers in what has been coined the “Abbotsford Shuffle.” (…)


oppenheimer-copyHomelessness is Still a Huge Problem

By Jean Swanson

The homeless count for this year was the highest it’s ever been: 1803 homeless people in Vancouver, and 2,777 in the Metro Vancouver area. And even the counters say that is an undercount. The Oppenheimer Park and Abbotsford Dignity Village tenters show with their presence that what’s been done isn’t solving the housing crisis. All three levels of government must do more. (…)

noticein-abby-copy“Displace and Disperse”: Abbotsford’s Solution to the Homeless Problem

By Dave Diewert

If there is one thing to learn from the City of Abbotsford, it’s how NOT to deal with the homeless crisis. Abbotsford’s main strategy is to push homeless people from one place to another, hoping that they will leave town altogether or disappear into places where they are no longer visible. (…)

natalie-article_photo-from-mainlander-mauricio-rivera-copyAsserting Our Rights: Oppenheimer tent city challenges the limits of government talk on First Nations legal rights

By Natalie Knight

On July 10 organizers of the tent city at Oppenheimer Park put the City of Vancouver’s empty words to the test. Native leaders of the camp have asserted their Aboriginal rights to the land. They declared their rights to stay in the park because the land belongs to the Coast Salish Nations, not to the City. (…)