Facing displacement by condos, should Vancouver artists ‘bite the hand that feeds?’

Tessa Vikander, Metro, Mar 11 2018

In an increasingly unaffordable city, where low-wage earners are struggling to find housing and artists are struggling to find affordable studio space, some members of Vancouver’s artistic community are calling on artists to get involved in anti-gentrification and housing rights advocacy.

The call to action came last Wednesday, during a community forum at the 221A arts space in Chinatown, where artists with varying political views debated the ethics of accepting developer money. After the event, Vincent Tao, a librarian at 221A who helped organize the event, told Metro that artists, who have to pay rent for their homes and studio or practice space, are in a tricky situation. Read more…

Vincent Tao wants artists to join groups fighting for rent freezes, a living wage and an end to “renovictions.”

Reconciling the damage done by ‘urban renewal’

Allen Garr / Vancouver Courier, FEBRUARY 6, 2018 12:41 PM

In the mid-1950s, Vancouver city bureaucrats steered a malleable and willing council down the road to “urban renewal.” It was a course pretty well every major city in the western world was taking as they tried to shake off the economic lethargy following the Second World War.

Here and pretty well everywhere else it was a strategy that had two major pieces: slum clearance and freeway construction. It was the time when the car was king and the middle class was moving to the suburbs.

Inevitably in most cities in North America that meant bulldozing homes and businesses populated predominantly by either blacks or Chinese. In Vancouver it meant both. Read more…

A view of Hogan’s Alley in 1958. Photo City of Vancouver Archives P508.53

‘Seniors can stay’: Historic May Wah Hotel sold to Chinatown Foundation

Lien Yeung, CBC News, Mar 17, 2017

Future of low income tenants, mostly seniors, was in jeopardy when building was put up for sale. New owners of Chinatown’s historic May Wah Hotel say its senior residents will be able to remain in their homes after it was sold to the Chinatown Foundation for $9.8 million. “We just want everyone to feel comfortable that not much is going to change,” said Henry Fung, a board director. Read more…

The May Wah Hotel is a City of Vancouver-designated heritage building that houses more than 100 low-income tenants. (CBC)

Vancouver proposes 700% fee increase to change room from welfare rate to market rental

BY LORI CULBERT, VANCOUVER SUNJULY 2, 2015

Vancouver city hall is proposing new rules that would ding private Downtown Eastside hotel owners with more than a 700-per-cent increase — to $125,000 from $15,000 — to remove a room from the area’s diminishing affordable housing stock. Read more …

In 2007, 60 per cent of private SRO rooms rented for $375 or less, compared to just 24 per cent today.
Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann Gerry Kahrmann

Boston Globe: Chinatown, Immigrant Haven, Fights for Its Future

On April 1 2015, the Boston Globe published a front-page feature by Maria Sachetti detailing the history of Boston Chinatown’s fight to remain a home for working class immigrant families. The article details the struggle of 103 Hudson Street tenants to stay in their homes whom the Chinese Progressive Association have been organizing and supporting. Pei Ying Yu, tenant at 103 Hudson Street who was forcibly relocated from her Chinatown apartment, said “Having a home is really important. We feel like we’re losing our home” Check out the feature story here. Read more …

In Vancouver’s Changing Chinatown, Youth Join Gentrification Debate

By Tyee staff, 29 Dec 2015

The story of Vancouver’s changing Chinatown is a familiar one, as low-cost housing and grocers are replaced by high-end condos and cafés. Over the years, The Tyee has spotlighted the plight of Chinese seniors who can no longer afford to live in the heritage neighbourhood.

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Damage to Chinatown murals linked to Vancouver housing affordability and anger at so-called “foreign buyers”

by Travis Lupick on September 8th, 2015

Someone has defaced a series of historical murals in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighborhood.

A mural celebrating Chinese Canadian history at the corner of Pender and Columbia streets was recently defaced by graffiti. Photo by RICHARD MARQUEZ

Read more