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Half a dozen people have taken pre-emptive action against the closure of a downtown shelter and occupied the offices of the building, which was set to close today.
"This is a city owned building, it's going to be empty, so we're not going to leave until the money is put up to keep it open," said Nate Crompton, a member of Van Act! and the media spokesperson for the group who have occupied the Howe Street shelter.
"The building is still open and BC Housing and Raincity are coming in and out, but they know that at least 6-7 of us aren’t leaving," said Crompton in a phone interview from the site. "The residents who are not leaving have been offered housing from BC Housing but its housing that they can’t accept, they don’t deem it fit to live in."
The housing that was offered to the residents who have decided to stay and occupy the shelter are SROs in the Downtown Eastside, which Crompton says include buildings that are flooded with water. He added that the Howe St. shelter, which holds 40 people, together with four others like it have just closed or are set to close this week, pushing almost 200 people into SROs or on to the streets.
Crompton said things are calm so far and nothing much is happening, but welcomed supporters to come down and join the action.
"I haven’t seen any police its really low key," he said. "If people want to come down and be part of the squat that would be cool." The Howe St. Shelter is located at 1442 Howe Street in downtown Vancouver.