British Columbia

Rally for more social housing turns into protest at Vancouver City Hall

A social housing rally turned into a protest this morning at Vancouver city hall. Organizers are demanding more affordable housing for the city's homeless.

Organizers demand more social housing for the city's homeless, await meeting with mayor

Social housing protesters plan their next move inside Vancouver city hall after being turned away from the morning council meeting (Belle Puri/CBC)

A rally for better social housing turned into a protest at Vancouver City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

The protesters marched inside the building demanding time to talk before the morning council meeting, but they were denied.

The protest turned loud for a time, as protesters, outraged over the lack of social housing for the homeless, voiced their concerns.

Organizers urged the group to stay put and not disperse.

But instead of being forcibly removed from the building, the group was allowed to occupy a committee room, where it formulated its demands.

Protesters break for taxpayer-paid-for eats and drink in a City of Vancouver committee room, Tuesday afternoon. (Belle Puri/CBC)

The focus of the protest is a lot at 58 West Hastings where the group is demanding the land be dedicated 100 per cent to social housing.

Since Saturday, a tent city has sprung up at the West Hastings Street site — one of two protests currently underway in Metro Vancouver over the demolition of affordable housing.

The group VANDU, the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, is leading the protest. The group says it advocates to improve the lives of people who use illicit drugs.

Mayor to meet with group

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson agreed to meet with the group later Tuesday afternoon.

At that meeting, he agreed to meet with them on the Downtown Eastside sometime in the next two weeks to discuss their needs in more detail. 

However, the mayor did not agree to install washroom facilities at the tent city on West Hastings.

In turn, Robertson asked the protesters to take down the tent city, which they refused.  

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