Please note that in September of 2012, the Eviction Order was defeated! This was a major victory for the families who live at Little Mountain, and the community who supported them.
Here is my latest short film about two independent senior citizens shot over the past 3 years, who currently live under an eviction notice at Little Mountain.
THE EVICTION DATE IS SEPTEMBER 28, 2012.
A facebook page: “Stop the Eviction of Little Mountain Tenants” can be found here:http://www.facebook.com/StopTheEvictionOfLittleMountainTenants
The LINK to the PETITION is HERE.
If the Youtube connection is busy, you can view the short film on VIMEO here:
There are a number of important issues involved in the eviction of Sammy and Joan. I list a few here:
Sammy and Joan are both completely blind. Sammy fought the first eviction notice in 2009 for good reason, BC Housing did not have a plan to redevelop Little Mountain, and the safety of his wife was of the highest importance. Sammy did visit a number of BC Housing locations prior to deciding to reject with finality the offer to relocate. Every location that Sammy visited displayed environmental hazards – driveways, parking lots, concrete trip zones etc. – which posed a serious threat. I accompanied Sammy on several of those outings, and realized how many small obstacles we negotiate daily, and how we rely on our sight to get around them.
Sammy no longer has eyesight to help Joan negotiate unfamiliar territory. He can not longer assess the danger of any new environment for his wife, or himself. Relocation puts Sammy and Joan’s physical safely in real jeopardy.
DESTRUCTION OF LIVELIHOOD
Sammy is one of Vancouver’s original urban organic gardeners. His garden is his life, and a mainstay of his diet. Sammy is also a chef, and both he and Joan cooks their own food.
Joan has mentioned that BC Housing intends to put them in a facility which garnishes 75% of their income for life support. This means that the facility prepares and cooks all the meals in an institutional setting. Currently Sammy keeps 75% of his income for life support, and buys and prepares food in his way. Sammy and Joan are two independent, blind seniors who live a frugal and healthy life.
Remove Sammy from his garden, and deny this blind couple any control over their diet and lifestyle and you might as well be putting them in prison.
Recent news has brought the safety of many BC Housing operations into question. Seniors have spoken about how dangerous it is to live in BC Housing projects near the downtown east side. One woman mentioned that she had to sleep with “a knife under her pillow.”
BC Housing has been taking to them about Hastings Street (watch the video)! How well will a blind couple fare in such an environment? I’m sure that you can imagine! This eviction will compromise their personal safety.
HEALTH and STRESS
Could BC Housing have picked a more stressful time in Sammy’s life, in which to evict him? The loss of his eyesight in March of 2012 a tragic event. Now, just as he is being offered hope that he might restore part of it, BC Housing burdens him with the stress of eviction. It’s no wonder that he can no longer sleep, and his life, leading up to both his eviction and his eye operation is hell. If BC Housing has anything in their mission statement about ethical and moral values, they are violating all of them at once.
CAN BC HOUSING MITIGATE THE PROBLEM?
YES THEY CAN, by not moving Sam and Joan off the site until it is absolutely necessary, and certainly not in order to perform more “environmental testing” 18 months to two years prior to the commencement of any new construction.
In fact considering the enormity of the Little Mountain property, and the mandate of the developer — to build the replacement social housing in the first phase of development — it is very likely that a building could be built to satisfy that mandate and house Sammy and Joan, WITHOUT them ever needing to be relocated!
If BC Housing choses to pursue this latest round of evictions, they will be proving without a shadow of a doubt that they are not only capable of screwing up on a very large scale (witness the Little Mountain site today), but on the smallest personal level, continuously on the same project. What does that say about this crown corporation?
Little Mountain Community