New eviction deadline, same old fuckery

In colonial capitalist land, Friday is fun times. For people at tent cities, Friday is the time when you get extra-fucked over by bureaucrats who set things up to happen just before they take the weekend off to go pursue work-life-balance. THE NEW DEADLINE IS MAY 20... On April 25th the provincial government, aka Nastily … Continue reading New eviction deadline, same old fuckery

7 weeks in: update

On Tuesday March 17, the provincial government declared a public health emergency due to COVID-19 and shelters and other survival services started closing down or reducing spaces. The following day, a provincial state of emergency was declared, giving the government power to remove or restrict people from anywhere in ‘bc’ and do other things. On … Continue reading 7 weeks in: update

McShelters: Numbers harmed today

Under capitalism and colonialism, "success" is often measured in appalling ways. Big institutions are often very efficient at causing mass harm, and very bad at responding to crises in good ways. (Especially crises that they have largely caused.) It can be confusing to sift through government PR to figure out what's actually going on. The … Continue reading McShelters: Numbers harmed today

When government is the public health emergency

On September 23, 1997, after pressure from street community activists, the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board declared a public health emergency in the Downtown Eastside. HIV rates had skyrocketed as a result of insufficient access to clean needles and more than 1,000 people had died of drug overdoses. On April 14, 2016, BC’s provincial health officer declared … Continue reading When government is the public health emergency

Reality check: situation on the ground

Two days ago the provincial government announced their plans to close down tent cities at Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue here, and Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside, by May 9. The headline of the accompanying BC Housing release is "Province secures safe shelter, supports for people living in major encampments". People have been told … Continue reading Reality check: situation on the ground

Displacing tent cities: today’s government announcement

This morning the provincial NDP government held a press conference to announce their plans to close down tent cities at Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue here, and Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside. This was supposed to be a gradual process, but minutes after the press conference BC Housing and VicPD came to Pandora to … Continue reading Displacing tent cities: today’s government announcement

Policing is violence

Tomorrow 'victoria' City Council is considering whether to approve $52,500 requested by the VicPD for increased policing of people sheltering at Topaz Park. The Anti-Violence Project wrote a beautiful open letter to City Council opposing this request and explaining how policing is violence. Many other people are individually writing letters. You can reach the Mayor … Continue reading Policing is violence

Imagining alternatives

When the pandemic first started, given what was known at that time about its spread the solutions seemed pretty obvious -- provide info about COVID and work with people living outside to find out what would work from their perspective. Instead the colonial government has done what it always does: tried to impose strategies of … Continue reading Imagining alternatives

No water in a health crisis

In colonial government, public health departments have two mandates: to provide/oversee public health services, and to enforce social control. The combination of the two is deadly for people living outside. Years ago when we were working with people living at another tent city, access to drinking water was a major issue. Naively, we approached public … Continue reading No water in a health crisis

Handwashing…so basic and yet…

“A lot of services shut down and there are hardly any bathrooms available, and the bathrooms that are available are only during specified hours...If the city was going to respond you think they would put out handwashing stations, if the basic premise of this [emergency] is to fight COVID-19…right?” trish pal, Indigenous Harm Reduction Team, … Continue reading Handwashing…so basic and yet…