VANCOUVER, B.C. – Green City Councillor Pete Fry is renewing calls for rapid shelter solutions and comprehensive supports in response to reports there was not enough housing, shelter, or access to services to offer people who were forced to move from the Hastings Street encampment today.
“I was very concerned to hear from people on the ground, and through media reports, that there was not enough shelter to offer to people we were asking to move, and that there were critical service gaps like overdose prevention and vulnerable population-specific supports” said Fry, who attended to observe the decampment operation this morning.
“There are shelter solutions available that have been successfully deployed elsewhere. Greens have been calling for rapid temporary shelter solutions since 2014; Council passed a motion to take a closer look at tiny homes and shelters as a timely and scalable solution to street homelessness and unmanaged encampments back in October of 2020.
“I hoped by now we would have at least had better triage housing available — such as the workforce housing announced by the province late last year, or rapid shelter solutions like the tiny home pilot Vancouver City Council authorized back in 2020.”
“We need to meet people where they are at, we need comprehensive solutions that include access to critical services and we need to deliver them with the urgency this crisis demands. Additionally, we must ensure that these solutions are developed with a focus on safety and dignity for all individuals involved."
Fry has witnessed firsthand how vulnerable individuals are at risk of harm and has stressed that more must be done to address this issue. He cited the recent Atira survey on women's safety, increased incidents involving violence and weapons, and ongoing fire risks which further underscores the need for comprehensive, compassionate, and immediate solutions to street encampments and Vancouver's housing crisis.
“The clearing of the Hastings Street encampment today highlights the urgent need for housing and services in our city and across BC. The situation on Hastings has been increasingly unsafe and untenable, yet even given those conditions, we hear many people feel safer in tents than they do in shelters and run-down SROs.”
“Emotions and tension are running pretty high. This has been a very unsafe situation for some time now and earlier today I had been hearing concerns that folks were not being offered shelter or housing, or even access to observe the situation, so I felt it was incumbent on me to attend first hand, witness the operation, and hear from members of the public. This has been my neighbourhood for thirty years and these are my neighbours — I’m here for my community.”
Councillor Fry absented himself from today’s Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) housing conference to observe the East Hastings Street decampment and hear from displaced residents and concerned neighbours, as the City-led operations to clear the street were taking place.
Motion: A Closer Look at Tiny Homes and Shelters