Yesterday, the empty lot at 58 West Hastings Street became a makeshift camping ground. Homeless citizens and their supporters put up tents, tarps, and community rules on land owned by the condo developer Concord Pacific and designated as a VANOC parking space.
I counted about 40 tents this morning, but organizer Harsha Walia said that there were closer to 100 tents in the space overnight.
Today, the groups who organized the tent city — most prominently, Power of Women and Streams of Justice — staged a press conference to call attention to their criticisms. A handful of journalists showed up at 11 a.m., including representatives from Fairchild, Reuters and the Globe and Mail.
“I just want to make it very clear that the issues today are housing, gentrification and the criminalization of poverty,” said Tristan Markel, a member of the student-lead group Vancouver Action. “It’s gonna grow, you can’t stop it… we need to spend more money on housing than on the Olympics. So, until that happens this is going to grow.”
Markel is a university student standing in solidarity with the homeless, and he gave the impression of having some media savvy.
The homeless and struggling, on the other hand, spoke their unfiltered convictions.