UPDATE: Vancouver mulls options after court denies injunction to remove tent city
Tent city allowed to stay in a vacant lot at 950 Main St. after a judge rejects city’s bid for an injunction.
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UPDATE : The City of Vancouver says it is considering its options following a judge's decision not to grant an injunction that could permit removal of a tent encampment on the city's Downtown Eastside.
A news release from the city says keeping the tent city at 950 Main St. threatens the future of an affordable housing project on the same site.
City officials say there are tight timelines to complete the 26-unit project, and any delays could risk funding already arranged by the group planning to operate the facility.
The release says the city agrees a lack of affordable housing around Vancouver is a critical challenge.
It also says outreach workers have managed to find shelter for three campers and hope to do the same for others.
Editor's Note: This is a developing story; an earlier version, published on May 17th, can be found below.
“I’m actually happy for once in my life to go home.”
That was the reaction of one resident at the tent city at 950 Main St. late Wednesday afternoon after a B.C. Supreme Court judge rejected the City of Vancouver’s application for an injunction to have the homeless encampment dismantled.
“It’s been an emotional day, an emotional day,” resident Keya Archambolt told Metro. “It’s such a big relief just knowing that there is still hope. I have a place to call home, where there is a sense of community and safety. I can actually sleep at night.”
The decision marks a major victory for residents for the tent city, set up in April to draw attention to rising homeless numbers.
“We did not expect that. It’s actually a pretty historic and precedent-setting decision,” said activist Maria Wallstam. “Part of our argument was that the people on the site actually have nowhere to go. There are no shelter beds for them, they’re not safe, especially for people who are trans or queer, and a lot of the tent city residents are. Staying on the streets is not safe and people’s lives are actually at stake.”
Wallstam said the city failed to prove to the judge that being at the site was causing “irreparable harm” and there were also questions about the evidence presented at the injunction hearings.
She expects the city to file another application for an injunction soon, which is slated for a future social housing development.
In its application, the city argued the tent city is preventing soil testing and drilling work that needs to be done.
There are approximately 50 residents living at the site.
With files from the Canadian Press