July 2019 General Meeting

VTU members voting in favour of a motion

Over 50 VTU members, including many new volunteers, gathered at the Carnegie Community Centre on July 6th. Here's what happened...

Item 1: Territorial Acknowledgement & Community Agreements

Item 2: Community Agreements

The meeting next moved to introducing our Community Agreements, (which will be re-iterated at all our meetings). They are:

  1. One-mic - means to respect each other’s speaking time.
  2. Speak Up/Listen Up - means that people who are comfortable should step up on their listening skills and people who tend not to speak should step up speaking more.
  3. Break It Down - explaining words or phrases that are unclear/ inaccessible.
  4. Respect Each Other - oppressive behaviour will not be tolerated.
  5. Challenge Ideas, Not People - disagreements should be expressed with what people have said and not the people themselves.
  6. Be Present
  7. Take Care Of Yourself - do what is best for your physical and emotional well being

Item 3: Breakout Groups to Discuss Individual Tenancy Issues

[Confidential - VTU does not publish names of meeting attendees or their tenancy situations]

Item 4: City Hall Working Group Report (Sara)

Since the last GM, the rest of motion B10 was passed by the city council. Update covered what this means in terms of tenant protections, and what work remains for VTU members.

Timeline of the process for passing motion B10 shown

Current rental space still excluded from motion B10 regulations:
Redevopment or renovation in the “secondary rental stock” (includes single family homes, basement suits, duplexes, or individually rented condos or tenanting of a vacant property after an application for redevelopment or renovation is made)

What we still need:

  1. For these rules to apply to building permits
  2. Vacancy control on all new rentals
  3. Requiring that tenants can return at same rent after renovations (Burnaby already has this)
  4. Actual enforcement of  Tenant Relocation Policy by city hall
  5. Build more affordable homes

    VTU has been offered office space at the Renter’s Office being started by the City of Vancouver
  • Several comments were offered by members on this, that caution is absolutely necessary when considering this as an option

Item 5: Report on July 23rd Housing Emergency: Vancouver People's Summit (Ishmam)

The Housing Emergency Summit had the goal to unite unions, friendly politicians, COPE, and VTU members w/r/t pushing for more/better tenant protections in Vancouver. Agenda of the summit:

  1. Identify problems in Vancouver
  2. Identify ways to protect tenants from above
  3. Identify solutions to the housing crisis, mainly vacancy control
  4. How to bring attending groups together to achieve goals w/r/t above

Summit attendance was ~200 people, including 3 members of the Vancouver city council, and one city councillor from New Westminster. 25 volunteers helped make the event possible.

Long distance advice provided from Berlin, which just passed a 5 yr rent freeze after sustained pressure from the tenants movement there.

Item 6: Presentation from Data Tools working group (Bryan)

Data Tools have been able to pull data from publicly available repositories and visualize and translate it. 

Active projects:

  1. Monitoring online rental postings
  2. Analyzing public RTB decisions
  3. Developing ways for tenants to report information (in progress)
  4. Creating a survey tool to study the rental stock (in progress)
  5. Designing a polling tool (in progress)

Data tools have identified a list of the most litigious landlords in the city

Data tools need more volunteers. Visit vtu-datatools.github.io email: [email protected]

Item 7: Steering Committee Financial Report (Roger)

Roger summarized the largest sources of funding, what percent of our funds come from regular/recurring contributions.

Pitch: more donations should be regular. Larger, one-time contributions are not something VTU members and volunteers can depend on. Regular (smaller) monthly contributions are reliable.

Various options for regular donations/accepting dues were discussed.

Item 8: Report back from VTU's Green New Deal Town Hall (Maz)

On May 25th, VTU members hosted a Pact for the Green New Deal town hall meeting.

(More information here: greenewdealcanada.ca)

Outlined why GND can benefit renters:

  • New more dense, more gentrified spaces will be demanded by developers
  • Others will demand no changes to housing
  • VTU members must center renters and tenants to avoid above problems in GND movement/language

~ 50 participants at the town hall identified recommendations together, and sent them to Pact for a Green New Deal

Recommendations are as follows. The GND:

  • Must decommodify housing
  • Must not include market solutions
  • Must include a 90% tax on the wealthy
  • Must include no fuel subsidies

Item 9: Special Resolutions from Members

  1. Special Resolution Regarding the Pact for a Green New Deal (link)
    1. Motion passed 41 yea, 2 nay, 0 abstentions

  2. Special Resolution for the Creation of a Language Access Fund (link)
    1. Motion passed unanimously

Item 10: General Announcements

  • Event calendar is up and running on website
  • Marpole chapter call for members
  • July 20th: Rent Control Rant in WA state, Accomodations and travel expenses provided for interested parties
  • COPE GM, guest speaker from NYC (July 7th)
  • July 12th: Vancouver Art Gallery “Lights for Liberty” event, 7pm
  • VTU operating booth at Commercial Dr. Car Free Day, July 7th
  • “Rave Against Renovictions” August 10th

Next Meeting is our TBD in September