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Letter: Downtown Eastside needs more social housing not more homeowners

Vancouver city councillor Jean Swanson responds to Michael Geller column
Coun. Jean Swanson says columnist Michael Geller’s prescription for the ills of the Downtown Eastsid
Coun. Jean Swanson says columnist Michael Geller’s prescription for the ills of the Downtown Eastside would lead to more gentrification and push more people out of the neighbourhood. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Re: “‘Abnormality has become normalized’ in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside,” Aug. 15

The two biggest problems in the DTES are homelessness and poison drugs. I fail to see how following Michael Geller's advice of having more home owners in the DTES will address either of these issues. 

Market housing in the DTES is actually gentrifying the neighbourhood, pushing up property values, taxes and rents in the SRO hotels that low income people relied on for housing. As a result of gentrification and the lack of enough new housing affordable to people on social assistance, hundreds of people have been pushed to the street. 

If I had had the ability to "hijack" the DTES plan, it would have included more social housing and less gentrification.

Jean Swanson,

Vancouver city councillor