WTF? Have we Vancouverites lost our minds?

Submitted by Nancy aka money... on Thu, 07/17/2008 - 10:04.

Fellow Citizens, you should know about this:

Many of you know of the infamous Oppenheimer Park in my 'hood, the Downtown Eastside. It's a pretty grim park, frankly. I only go there rarely and I don't let my dogs walk there because of the needles. And other stuff. See image below.

People without a house and nowhere to couch surf hang out there in the day and sleep there in cardboard and cheap sleeping bags at night. Not my kinda crowd, not easy people to be around, and easy to dismiss. But this next part is insane:

 Yesterday morning at approximately 4:30am the police took action against the homeless living in the park. People were ticketed and were allowed to leave with their belongings- those who didn't have shopping carts or other means of carrying their belongings had everything loaded into a garbage truck that had followed the police into the park.

The police stated they intend to continue this action on coming nights.

I ask you:

1. What the hell is the point of ticketing them? TICKETING the HOMELESS?

2. Exactly who among us is upset that we can't use the park at 4:30am because people without homes are sleeping there? Why, precisely, was it so imperative that they be moved along at that ungodly hour?

3. Where, exactly, do we as a society expect them to move along to? At 4:30 in the morning? Without a place that is their own?

My fellow citizens, and especially those in Vancouver, if you, like me

  • have a place to call home (esp. us property owners)
  • enjoy enough abundance that we can delight in getaways for the weekend (ironically, away from our own homes)
  • possibly struggle with so much stuff that we actually store our excess
if you, like me want, to live in CANADA, not some Dickensian horror, for Christ's sake (perhaps literally), here is some action you can take:
  1. Hold your politicians to account. This is not about the police. It's about what kind of society your politicians are shaping. E-mail the following with your thoughts on the matter: Mayor Sam Sullivan, [email protected] Peter Ladner [email protected] ; Kim Capri [email protected] ; Suzanne Anton [email protected] or the entire council at [email protected]
  2. Inform yourself further - easily - by things like joining the facebook group Streams of Justice. This is a faith-based group but you will be comfortable hearing about and joining their activities no matter your own faith or no faith at all. Or, browse and keep checking Blackbird's photo documentaries on homelessness in Vancouver on Flickr.
  3. If you are ready for some more radical action, I am considering sleeping outside myself as an act of solidarity. Not sure when, not sure where, but I hope to have my podcasting skills up to speed and contribute to the documentary of what happens at 4:30am in Vancouver. If you may be interested in joining me, either twitter me (money coach is my handle) or do a bit of research to figure out how to contact me (because of the nature of this post, I am not going to publish my e-mail or I'll get tons of hate-on stuff)
We don't have to settle for a lame-ass city, fellow citizens. But our politicians need to know we're not OK with this. -nancy The park in question:

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