The Housing Project 101: A Creative Response to a Systemic Invasion

Watching INVASION on the big screen really opens up the magnificence of the Unist’ot’en Territory and what is being protected.  The invasion of their home by multi-national big business resonates with the invasion of the residential property market, and our rented homes, by people seeking a financial investment.

Homes are no longer built to home people and help them grow, rather they are built to park money and watch it grow.

The Housing Project 101 #maketheshift, in support of the UN Special Rapporteur on The Right to Housing, is a creative healing response to the invasion of our residential property market by multi-national investment.

In 1993, I ran for  city council in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on a platform of affordable housing, and at that time said in public meetings that housing should be a right, and not a for profit activity. I was openly laughed at by another candidate who got elected that year, and sat on council every year until the last election when she finally lost her seat.

Residential Tenants Are the Modern Day Slaves and Treated as Dispensable Objects

Twenty-seven years later, the lack of rental homes, affordable or not, in Victoria and surrounding area has not improved! Indeed the world over, gouging tenants to fatten wallets, appears to be a socially – and often legally – acceptable, blatantly exploitative activity.  Low-income home renters are the modern slaves.

The new B.C. provincial speculation tax and empty homes tax has started to bring down prices in the housing market, for the multi-million $ luxury properties. While the tenants – the home renters – still lose out; often paying more in rent than the monthly costs of the owner.

No one bats an eye. 
To socially mention it is not *PC*!  
To challenge someone for *making money off a tenant* is like wearing the wrong footwear!  

Home renters are treated with disdain by some property owners; their rented homes viewed by realtors as units rather than homes, the tenants as dispensable objects.  At the social level, home renters are often even secretly socially snubbed by property owners, as if the two shall never mix!

It goes with the overall attitude that a home renter – a tenant if you insist – is considered something lesser that doesn’t deserve the same stability of home as a property owner.

Canadian Federal Government’s Housing Strategy, and Rental Construction Financing Incentive, an utterly misguided and pathetically out-of-touch response to the reality of tenants.

…at the end of the month, it’s the landlord who pockets the money – and by extension the mortgage holder, and by extension the pension fund, and on and on and on – and leaves the 24-year old woman working for BC ferries using her whole paycheque to pay her rent, in a building constructed with assistance from the federal government’s Rental Construction Financing, under the auspices of their much lauded Housing Strategy, that amounts to cheap loans for developers while those with low incomes are utterly shut out of the home buyer’s market by a restrictive stress test, and nothing is built for them to rent.  Systemic discrimination restricting access to a safe, secure, private home, based on one’s access to credit.  Their access to credit also based on a set of discriminatory factors. 

Meanwhile, some think it’s okay to try and sneak under the law and kick out a tenant so a property unit can generate more revenue.
Or how about sneaking an Air BnB into a property that should be a year-round residence?
Or thinking it’s okay to ask a tenant to move out when a property is sold because the new owner wants to use it?

Hey – wait a minute! That sounds like discrimination!  That’s a blatant legal discrimination against home-renters, and places home owners at a strong advantage over renters in the securing of a home. 

Residential Tenants Severely Disadvantaged: They do not share the same stability of home, or even the same degree of privacy, or even the same degree of freedom as property owners.

In B.C., the sale of tenanted properties – where the new owner has the right to submit notice to vacate because they want to use the property – has to stop.

There is a woman in the building I live in who has rented her apartment for 24 years, it has just been sold.  She has to move. She has been paying $700/month for a 1-bedroom apartment next to Beacon Hill Park. There is nothing on the market for her. She went to BC housing, which the complexities of, was not only overwhelming in her stressed state of mind, but also an utterly disheartening experience.

I get it. I went through the same last year.  The 2-bedroom I’d been in for 7 years was sold. I got lucky, and got a 1-bedroom in the same building at the same price!  The catch? I have to move November 2020 because they want to sell.*

It’s the same colonist attitude that says it’s okay to kick a long-standing tenant our of their home, because the new owner wants to use it differently, that says it’s okay to run a pipeline through someone else’s home.

And while we’re at it, did you know you can probably get away with kicking a tenant out because you want to use their apartment, not as a home for yourself, but rather as an art studio?  So someone loses their home so someone else can have a nice place to make art?

Hey, I’m an artist and make art at home, and I would never begrudge someone an art studio. But when did it become more important that a property owner have a fully equipped residential unit in which to make art than for someone to have a stable home?

This gross unjust invasion happening right under our noses is putting our most vulnerable, our seniors – our elders – out of their homes with NOWHERE FOR THEM TO GO . It has got to stop!   

If any of this resonates with you, and you want to explore this creative healing response to the insanely inequitable, disadvantaging home rental invasion we are experiencing right here In My Great Neighborhood, Walking to Distance to Downtown Victoria, please join us.  And please know we carry an eco-consciousness!

Book your spot here!

Walking Distance to Downtown Victoria


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Saturday March 7, 2020
James Bay New Horizons
11:00 am: Indigenous ceremonies followed by
Project Introduction activities and games including:
project vision, perimeters and goals
volunteer opportunities
12:00 ish: lunch break

(pot luck optional, to keep serving and clean-up simple, please bring finger food to share)

12:45 pm: lunch break ends

1:00 pm: transformational theatre story-making workshop starts

3:00 pm: workshop ends
Please Note:

Participation in the afternoon workshop is optional.

It is a theatre-based creative workshop, and requires attendance the morning session.


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