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Howe Shelter residents vow to stay

by murray bush - flux photo

Housing advocates Nathan Crompton, Rider Cooey and Letizia Waddington vow to keep shelter open
Resident Sean packs up - with big reservations
Shelter resident Brad says he liked the way the shelter was run
Thank-you to shelter operator RainCity Housing
Resident Randy says he's staying 'because I believe in social justice for the disadvantaged'
Poem/rant on BC Housing

VANCOUVER - The Howe St. emergency shelter has been squatted by shelter residents and allies. The City and province planned to throw people onto the streets at 11 am this morning, but the eviction was preempted by a squat that started at 10:45.

Organizers from Streams of Justice, Citywide Housing and Van.Act  say food and banners are welcome. The shelter is located in the alley behind 1442 Howe Street.

Tomorrow, the government is expected to try to shut down the Fraser and Broadway shelter as well. Residents there are expected to resist the evictions.

The Howe Street Shelter is one of five that the City and Province are trying to shut down this week, claiming they are only needed during winter weather conditions. Funding for one of the shelters, the New Fountain, was extended for only two months after a concentrated campaign to keep it open.

Resident Randy Zimmer says he's staying "because I believe in social justice for the disadvantaged." He's been at the shelter for about a month and says he'll stay until it is confirmed that the Howe Shelter will stay open.

Sean is leaving, but he's not optimistic. "They (BC Housing) found me a place, but it's right by Oppenheimer Park and I'm trying to stay off drugs. There's so many dealers down there that you have to walk through, I'm not sure I'll last there." Sean has a dog and says that restricts his options for where he can stay.

Brad says he'll stay "until I'm forced to go." He says the Howe Shelter, which was run by RainCity Housing, was a lot better than many he has stayed in. " "I liked it because the staff were much less restrictive and less tied to petty little rules - I've stayed in a lot  worse." Brad says he has had an interview at another shelter but "they're just juggling me around from one place to another - they're not addressing the real problem at hand, which is the housing shortage issue."



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