Moonhee is a low-income tenant who received subsidized rent from BC Housing in a building owned by a large non-profit. But when she finds toxic mold in her apartment, getting anyone to care about her safety becomes an impossible task. This episode underscores why poorly maintained housing is not 'good enough' for anyone, but great social housing can be for everyone.
The first segment of the episode, titled “I Cannot Die in My Apartment”, is focused on Moonhee’s story and the particular difficulties of tenants living in social housing in British Columbia. The second segment, produced by Yijia Zhang is titled “Leaving is Not an Option.” What can a tenant do when their home is falling into disrepair but they are scared of landlord retaliation that will leave them at the whims of an inflated rental market?
Afterwards, Sydney Ball at the Vancouver Tenants Union updates us on some tenants in social housing here in Vancouver who are fighting to get their elevator fixed after being down for more than six months.
This project was part of a mentorship and skills development program. Thank you to the Vancouver Tenants Union for oral history support, Sydney Ball for supplemental scripts and commentary, and VIVO Media Arts Centre/BC Arts Council for equipment and financial support. To learn more about the project and participants, check out Episode One. Special thanks to the tenants who shared their stories.
Segment Credits: “I Cannot Die in My Apartment” produced by Helena Krobath with extra writing and commentary by Sydney Ball. “Leaving is not an Option” produced by Yijia Zhang. Episode Produced by Helena Krobath with extra scripts, editing, and commentary by Sydney Ball
“Class Struggle in Chinatown: Ethnic Tourism, Planned Gentrification, and Organizing for Tenant Power” by Nat Lowe themainlander.com/2019/07/16/class…or-tenant-power/
“If Landlords Renovate, Must You Vacate?” by Sean Condon in The Tyee (all the way back in 2008) thetyee.ca/News/2008/09/25/Evictions/
About Vancouver Housing Stories
After learning more about the fight for secure housing at a Real Rent Control meeting, VTU member and local artist Helena Krobath started gathering audio recordings in the late spring to tell people’s everyday housing stories through sound.
The project grew and became part of a mentorship and skills development program that took place in summer 2019 in Vancouver at VIVO Media Arts Centre. Read about the project and other mentors on VIVO's website.
The Vancouver Tenants Union provided oral history support and Steering Committee member Sydney Ball worked on supplemental scripts and commentary. The BC Arts Council provided financial support.