No Lasting City

Publisher:  Larry Bantleman, First United Church
Year Published:  1981  
Pages:  48pp  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2391

Larry Bantleman has assembled information on the growing housing crisis for low income people in Vancouver in order to determine a way that First United Church can "provide low-income, low-rent housing in the Downtown Eastside."

Abstract:  Larry Bantleman has assembled information on the growing housing crisis for low income people in Vancouver in order to determine a way that First United Church can "provide low-income, low-rent housing in the Downtown Eastside."

This crisis in housing is effecting many sectors of the Vancouver housing market. There have been large increases in both population and prices. Thus, purchasing housing is beyond the reach of most residents and rental housing is disappearing due to conversion to condominiums.

The Downtown Eastside, according to the report, is becoming the only area in the city where low and fixed income residents can find affordable, if "lousy," accommodation. The old hotels in this area are in great demand and many in great need of repair.

However, the pressure on these hotels is also greatly increasing, partly in relation to the new B.C. Place development nearby. B.C. Place will have tourist-oriented exhibits, theatres and luxury accommodation. Hotels in its vicinity are already feeling the pressure to convert to more expensive tourist units. In the Downtown Eastside, this is also happening. The Stratford Hotel was evicting its low-income residents at the time of this report in order to renovate and raise rents. There is also substantial redevelopment in the Chinatown area of the Downtown Eastside.

There have been and continue to be some significant efforts to preserve low-income housing in the Downtown Eastside. Current efforts cited in the report include a number of sleeping room type facilities and a few self-contained units like that of the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre. However, the community workers contacted by the author felt that the number of self-contained units was clearly inadequate.

This leads the author to conclude that First United Church could use its space to provide such units. After reviewing the redevelopment projects of other United Churches across Canada, the author proposes that First United rebuild on its present site and include low-income housing for Downtown Eastside Residents. His examination of the CMHC financing options suggests that the project is feasible.
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