Vancouver Tenants Union, the SRO Collaborative and BC ACORN are calling for an immediate moratorium on all evictions in light of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Join us to strengthen the call and prove to the province that this is widely needed and supported by signing our petition!
Dear Housing Minister Selina Robinson,
We, the undersigned, join dozens of tenants organizations across North America in calling for an immediate moratorium on all evictions in the wake of the pandemic COVID 19 outbreak. Last week, tenants in San Jose and San Francisco won a pandemic eviction moratorium and similar action is being contemplated in Italy and cities across North America including Los Angeles, Sacramento, New York, Philadelphia, Oakland, Miami-Dade and Seattle. In New York, the Housing for All coalition garnered 7000 signatures in a single day sending strong signals to authorities to institute a ban on evictions.
BC is the eviction capital of Canada, with 80,000 residents facing either foreclosure or eviction over the last five years. The Vancouver Tenants Union (VTU) is working with dozens of tenants right now including those from Berkeley Tower who are facing threat of eviction at the end of this month by large developers like Port Living and John Stovell’s Reliance Properties. Relocating to alternative housing at this time is next to impossible because many landlords are cancelling rental open houses during the crisis.
Now, already pushed to the breaking point by housing costs and low wages, many more renters could be facing the threat of eviction due to loss of wages and a lack of emergency savings.
One in five tenants in BC pay more than 50% of their income to rent. A survey conducted by Leger polling in 2019 showed that 53% of Canadians report living paycheck to paycheck with 20% struggling to get by and 14% of respondents in a dire financial situation, such as filing for bankruptcy or having something sent to collections. Authorities must step up now so that those losing wages due to this crisis do not also lose their homes.
Those already unhoused in Vancouver and British Columbia face the impossibility of taking proper measures to protect themselves from COVID 19. The 2019 Homeless Count indicated that 2,223 residents in Vancouver identified as homeless with an additional 614 people living on the street and 1,609 people living in sheltered locations, including emergency shelters, detox centres, safe houses and hospitals. People who lack housing or proper access to sanitation and rely heavily on community services don’t have the resources to “socially distance” themselves. We recognize the vulnerable position of unhoused people in our communities, and we stand in solidarity with them and their fight for access to healthcare, dignified housing and human rights.
We call on the municipal, provincial and federal governments to:
Renters should not be facing threats of evictions and homelessness during the COVID 19 pandemic. These measures are absolutely necessary to curb the COVID 19 outbreak and protect the health and lives of thousands of people in British Columbia