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There is an ongoing call for social housing, especially since the 2010 Olympics were considered and now ongoing in Vancouver. The problem of homelessness has existed from the time of the “Woodward's” era when homeless advocates such as Jim Greene called for the redevelopment of the old Woodward's store location into social housing to end homelessness. This is in an area where poverty is at its worst in all of Canada, especially in the last six years running, that is surpassed only by the poverty in First Nations Reserves. That battle raged on for a couple of decades with sporadic occupations and tent cities surrounding the abandoned site. The empty building sat abandoned for most of that time. Then there was gentrification that began with condo developments in Yaletown that spilled out toward the West End of Vancouver and the Downtown East Side (DTES). Vancouver has long been a real estate hot spot where speculation has contributed strongly to the rise of fictitious value i.e., over valued commodities due to insufficient manufacturing of homes. Rents as a result are also high. All of this is the direct result of bank and landlord profit speculation on short supplied housing of all types. Despite this, wages have also been fixed for the last decade. One of the results of such policies is the increase of homelessness, especially over the last 4 or 5 years. The question to those who call for a reform by way of social housing is; Under who's control will social housing be guided and run by way of responsibility?

Social housing exists as a result of having been initiated under the NDP government in the 1970's. It was passed from government to government until now where it is now the responsibility of Gordon Campbell. Little was done to add to it during the entire period. The last insult came when Campbell's government bought six DTES hotels as a way to create social housing. All this did was to change the ownership of already existing housing that was not improved in any way. This was proven when a fire broke out in a government owned “social housing” hotel last year about this time. Below is a quote from the BC Province newspaper that covered the tragedy in 2009.

The failure of BC social housing, non working sprinklers results in 100 new homeless.

“A major fire broke out on the main floor of the Washington Hotel in the Downtown East side of Vancouver on Feb. 5Th, 2009 and sent eight people to hospital for smoke inhalation. The fire engulfed four floors and left a hundred people homeless. The sprinkler system failed to engage and contain the fire and it involved a three alarm
response for Vancouver Fire Fighters. This recent fire in one of the Campbell Liberal government social housing units demonstrates that Gordon Campbell and company are nothing more than slum-lords. No wonder then that they find it easy to issue a $10,000 fine and/or one year imprisonment to tenants who protest over their eviction over a no pets policy at the Seafield Apartments. The fine is issued under the loosely worded Elections Advertising Act that limits spending of election advertising for the 2009 provincial election. Information is available at Renter's at Risk Campaign. It is being used to censor people from speaking out for their rights and supports profit making for the Olympics. The fact that social housing is left without a fire fighting system that is in working order, speaks volumes about their contempt for the working poor who pay the 53 and 43 percent pay raises in taxes, while their own incomes remain fixed in the face of inflation.”

Social housing that evolved from socialist ideas has been turned on its head to be a cash cow and profit spinner. The deliberate and manufactured lack of adequate social housing has meant as a result, an escalation in rents for the poorest and most helpless of BC residents and elsewhere in Canada. It has also contributed to escalating homelessness as regions like the downtown east side where existing housing is being replaced or rebuilt as high end condos. The Campbell government bought six of the downtown east side hotels and one burned down due to substandard sprinklers that dis not work. Some social housing complexes were torn down while people were still living inside. Promises of new ones have not materialized, like at the old Woodward's site that was turned into condos after decades of bickering. Those who want of need social housing have a long wait due to a growing demand in the face of a shrinking supply.

Elsewhere, what does exist is run by the BC Liberal government that follows the Milton Friedman philosophy of economics. That means that the social housing is run on extremely strict protocol much like a prison. This reflect a growing concern that we see in the US under the FEMA concept of emergency housing that looks more like concentration camps with fencing, towers, mass barracks and sequestered away from major cities, just like the Nazi concentration camps.


The above also includes historical precedents of forced relocation.

See also:

for a local call for social housing.

A personal contact over social housing is detailed below.

After waiting seemingly forever, my partner finally qualified for social housing, right on the verge of his 65th birthday. What followed was a comedy of errors, except for the tragedy involved. He was required to sign and initial a six page document that served as a rental agreement. It was filled with terms that are more in line with a prison than an apartment. He was also put on an automatic rent withdrawal by the government. He moved in at the beginning of November and was evicted by December 19th, 2009. He was evicted for non payment of rent even though he was on automatic withdrawal. The people responsible never collected it even though the money was there. As a result, an eviction notice was served and he nearly wound up homeless. The current structure of social housing thus allows for the deliberate creation of homeless people, especially those who give social critique.

Further, while at his short stay, he had to endure noise around the clock, even though informed by the landlord's agent that it was quiet. It was anything but quiet. An old enemy had followed him out and continued the ongoing persecution of the past decade and a half. All in all, the move in and out over a month and a half just prior to Christmas cost over $1,200 which he could not afford. This was Campbell's Christmas gift to someone who needed housing support.

Communication between various departments of social housing is virtually non-existent. One bureaucrat does not know what another says or does and visa-versa. Misunderstandings abounded and caused further problems. The final rent, though only supposed to be 30 percent of one's income, wound up being higher than market rents. Social housing is broken down into several categories and a new controversy has arisen concerning senior assisted living social housing just one year after the tragic fire hit the DTES.

Rising rent hits B.C. seniors

By John Bermingham, The Province; February 5, 2010

"The bills are now coming due for 26,000 seniors at B.C.'s public nursing homes, most of whom were hit with higher rents in the new year by the provincial government. Ed Wainwright says his dad Len's rent for his Delta care home is now higher than his monthly income. Len now has to pay $2001.57 for room and board at the home, $145 more than last year. That's more than the 79-year-old retired brewery worker's income of $2,000. Next year, his rent rises to $2,205.

"It doesn't seem right that the rent goes up that high," son Ed, a 55-year-old Surrey electrician, told The Province Wednesday.

Elderly residents like Len must now pay 80 per cent of their net income for room and board, but are guaranteed $275 a month for spending money. Wainwright says his dad has to spend his pocket money on prescription drugs, dental work, podiatry, diabetic strips, clothing, TV, phone and social activities.

"It's very frustrating that seniors, after working and paying taxes all their life, are put in this position," says Ed.

Bonnie North says her mom Grace, 81, who's in a Victoria home with multiple health problems, is being billed for $2,166, a hike of $317. The bill goes up another $200 in 2011. Her total monthly income is $3,175.60, which includes a Canadian military pension from her late husband, a Korean War veteran.

"Every year, her expenses have gone up," said Bonnie, 50, speaking from Barrie, Ont., Thursday. "These people have nowhere else to go. They just cannot move to another nursing home, because the fee structure would be the same."

The new rate structure, announced by Health Minister Kevin Falcon last October, means that 75 per cent of elderly residents are paying more for care, while 25 per cent pay less. Those on the lowest income now pay the least for their care in the country.The higher rents will bring in $53.7 million in extra revenue, which is earmarked to improve care, said Falcon. NDP deputy health critic Sue Hammell said the extra millions are coming from the most vulnerable in society.”

© Copyright (c) The Province

In a word, social housing under Friedmanite capitalism is not social housing or socialist at all. It is run for profit exploiting a manufactured shortage in order to maximize exploitation for substandard housing. There are current promises about the Olympic village after the Olympics are over. But based on first hand experience and upon the history of these things, it is more likely they will be sold as condos to those willing to pay the highest mortgage fees. Given the last housing bubble that burst, even this is a risk, but a risk the banks and a Friedmanite Campbell government is more willing to take after spending $6 billion plus to throw an Olympic party. Whoever gets these units will have to pick up the tab, even though they never got anything but delays, lay-offs, loss of business, homes and more. Meanwhile, the rumour of disappearing homeless and poor persists and won't go away, though no substantial proof has come forth. Have they been relocated to FEMA like camps?

Given the foregoing, we can see that social housing under capitalism is an oxymoron; i.e., a contradiction. Social housing under a “me first” Friedman laissie-faire capitalist construct under imperialist monopoly is the structure under which so called social housing is allowed under the current regime. If one thinks the NDP will solve the problem, history tell us that the NDP served the capitalist boss then just as the Liberal government does today. It become clear as to what to expect by way of social housing reforms under capitalist direction that serves the enrichment of the banks and big real estate speculators in a casino economy. Social housing is on the back burner to stay as long as this crippling mindset holds the working class in thrall to the captains of capitalism. No new units will be forthcoming and old ones will be run like concentration camps where people considered dysfunctional, surplus and unwanted will be warehoused.

In order to have real social housing, the entire working class and peasants of the world will have to control housing from building to inhabiting and administration. This is part of what a planned economy is about. There will be no such thing as homelessness, not even in the face of a disaster such as Haiti. When disaster strikes, a planned economy will rush help to those in need instead of seeing it as an opportunity to make a market killing This is one of the calls of real Marxists; for full housing for all the workers of the world, seeing as it is the workers who build all housing regardless of the economy that is established in place. It was also a call that is ancient and can be found referenced in the Old Testament; hence Liberation theology.

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 65:17 to 25

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Tags: Artificial, Homelessness, Homes, Housing, Inadequate, Politics, Social, and, costs, deficits, More…housing


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