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DTES Power of Women Group joins residents of Fraser Street Shelter and housing advocates to protest closure

Rally and Actions Planned at Final Shelter Closure Friday

by DTES Power of Women Group

Howe Shelter / BC Housing rant (courtesy Murray Bush, VMC)
Howe Shelter / BC Housing rant (courtesy Murray Bush, VMC)

RALLY AND ACTIONS PLANNED AT FINAL SHELTER CLOSING FRIDAY

What:  Media conference & rally

When:  Friday, April 29, 2011 at 11 am

Where:  Fraser Street Shelter, 677 E Broadway in the parking lot behind the shelter

Find out how the landlord of the Howe Street shelter, the City of Vancouver, coerced and forcibly removed the homeless and protesters from the Howe Street shelter on Thursday.

Learn about next steps for actions. 

Learn why the DTES Power of Women Group is urging allies concerned about women’s safety and women’s housing to join the movement to stop the closure of the 5 HEAT shelters.

Join Fraser Street residents, plus DTES Power of Women Group, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, Indigenous Action Movement, Council of Senior Citizens of BC and others for this rally and media conference.   

Logistical Info:  Wendy (604) 839-0379;  Ivan (604) 781-7346

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DTES Power of Women Group joins residents of Fraser Street Shelter and housing advocates to protest closure.

The DTES Power of Women Group is joining residents of the Fraser Street Shelter as well as allies in DNC, CCAP, VanAct, and Citywide Housing Coalition to demonstrate against the closure of the Fraser Street Shelter, one of the Heat shelters scheduled to close on Friday April 29th.

The DTES Power of Women Group is urging allies concerned about women’s safety and women’s housing to join us at the Fraser Street Shelter at 677 E Broadway at Fraser St on Friday April 29th at 11 am.

Compared to other co-ed emergency shelters, the Fraser Street Shelter has a higher proportion of women who use that shelter, including two members of the DTES Power of Women Group who say it is the only co-ed shelter they feel safe in. It is a shelter also located along the strip where many women in the sex-trade are working at night and go access the shelter for safety and/or food or other basic necessities.

Beatrice Starr, a member of the DTES Power of Women Group, who has herself used many emergency shelters over the past year states “Shelters are just a band-aid solution to homelessness, but they are better than being on the street. We want safe and affordable housing, but the City and BC Housing have to keep the various Cold Wet Weather shelters open too. Women are especially vulnerable on the street. Where will they go? We already know that other shelters are not safe where there have been a number of reported sexual assaults.”

As part of a broader coalition of DTES and women’s groups, we have been pushing for a 24-hour women-only (includes all self-identified women) low barrier drop-in shelter. There are currently none for women and over 2000 women and DTES residents have signed a petition to BC Housing and the City of Vancouver.  Women’s safety should be a priority and women should not have to “choose” between the indignity of homelessness and being warehoused in shelters, and the high-risk of assault associated with both.

We want the Fraser Street Shelter to remain open, we want a 24-hour women’s low-barrier drop-in and shelter, and we want housing for women and children immediately. Look forward to seeing you all.

- DTES Power of Women Group.

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