Homelessness and Modular Housing:

Kerry Jang

 

Dear friends —

I want to share with you the latest on what your Vision team is doing on homelessness.

You may have read in the media about how we’re partnering with the new BC Government to deliver 600 modular homes — spread across the city — to help house people who are homeless. It’s a great example of the effective partnership we have with the provincial government that’s delivering real results for Vancouver.

There has been some neighbourhood pushback. I went to a community open house for one of the modular buildings last night. Some residents are claiming that the modular housing will bring drugs or crime to their neighbourhood, or put children at risk.

It’s disappointing to see that type of stigma about the homeless. The fact is, we have homeless people throughout Vancouver, in every neighbourhood. And they are people’s kids, their brothers and sisters, their friends.

We have a choice: we can leave people on the street, or get them into a home, with the support they need to rebuild their lives. And Vision Vancouver will continue to be willing to make the difficult choices to get this housing built, because it is the right thing to do.

Mayor Robertson held a special press conference yesterday to reiterate our commitment to getting people off the street.

Modular housing works. We set up the first city-led project at Main and Terminal earlier this year. There have been zero complaints. It’s a successful model that saves money and delivers housing quickly — which is why we’re building them across the city.

It’s one of several measures we’re rolling out to help our most vulnerable. We’re opening 300 winter shelter beds, again in partnership with the BC Government — almost double what we had last year. They’re already full. We’re opening community centres up overnight when the temperature drops, and we have 1,000 new permanent social housing units opening between now and the end of next year — affordable homes we secured as part of new development in Vancouver.

Yes, there’s much more to do, but we’re on the right track. If you support our work to get new modular housing to help the homeless, I’m asking if you’ll speak up. Write a letter to the editor. Tweet your support. Post about it on Facebook. Talk to your neighbours.

Every voice makes a difference.

Thanks for your support,
Kerry

 

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Dr. Kerry Jang
Vision Vancouver City Councillor

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Unbelievable

 Andrea Reimer

 

Friends,

Yesterday, City Council approved Vancouver’s first Renewable City Action Plan.

It’s a detailed, achievable plan to make life more affordable by requiring energy efficient buildings and green transportation alternatives, improving health outcomes with cleaner air, and supporting local businesses as we strive to meet our greenest city targets. It’s an important plan, and it’s going to help us fight climate change together.

Guess who voted against it?

All four NPA councillors — including their newest councillor — former oil and gas lobbyist Hector Bremner.

Here’s what the NPA said ‘No’ to:

  • Reducing your household energy bills by making new buildings more energy efficient.
  • Increasing electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Expanding low-emission transit options and getting the Broadway Subway built.

Vancouver is now a global leader on combatting climate change. But if the NPA has their way, they’ll try to undo our hard work. They call it “deregulation”. I call it moving backwards on affordability, clean air, and a greener city.

Yesterday’s vote was a clear reminder that on affordability and climate change, there is a big, big difference between Vision Vancouver and the NPA. And it’s why our party is working hard to prepare for next year’s election.

Our team won’t stop fighting to build an affordable, sustainable city. I hope you’ll continue to stand with us.

Take care,
Andrea

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Andrea Reimer
City Councillor, Vision Vancouver


PS: If you’re with us, please click here to make a contribution to our campaign fund. Any amount — whether it’s $10, $20, or even $100 — helps us prepare to take on the NPA in 2018.

 

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Campaign finance reform is finally here.

It’s a big day. Today, the new provincial government introduced legislation to eliminate corporate money in municipal politics.

Vision Vancouver has been pushing for these reforms for years. Mayor Robertson and your Vision city councillors have introduced motion after motion calling on the province to ban big money in politics. We even filed a submission with the Special Committee on Local Expense Limits. Councillor Andrea Reimer in particular has been an outspoken advocate for campaign finance reform, and deserves our thanks for her work.

Vancouver’s municipal elections are now among the most expensive in the country. In 2011, a single developer wrote a $900,000 cheque to our opponents at the NPA — the largest political donation in Canadian history. It’s not sustainable, and we’re grateful to the province for stepping up with today’s changes.

Local election campaign finance reform is good for Vancouver, and good for our democracy.

Vision Vancouver has always been powered by people and ideas. Today’s announcement lets us focus on what we’re good at — delivering progressive policies, building a green economy, and working to make life more affordable in Vancouver.

The hard work of funding our 2018 election campaign begins now. If you’d like to show your support, please stand with us and make a donation today. Donations from our community of supporters like you will help fuel this movement.

We are pleased with today’s announcement, and are preparing to fight the 2018 election under the new rules; it’s now a level playing field for all parties — and we’re up to the challenge.

Onward,
Your Vision Vancouver team

PS: Monthly donations help us plan our finances into the future. If you’d like to sign up for an ongoing monthly contribution, please click here and leave your name and email.

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A message from Mayor Gregor Robertson

I want to congratulate Hector Bremner on his election to City Council, and for running a campaign focussed on ideas about affordable housing, the biggest challenge we face as a city.

We knew this by-election would be difficult, and last night's results were not what we hoped for.

Our city faces real challenges. Vancouverites are frustrated — particularly around housing affordability — and they expect more from us. We’re working hard to deliver solutions, but tonight’s results show us there’s much more work to do.

I heard that message loud and clear, and our party heard that message loud and clear.

Diego Cardona is an impressive individual, and we were honoured to have him as a candidate. He embodies the values of Vancouverites: progressive, forward-looking, and committed to building a city for everyone. Diego’s candidacy also represents where Vision Vancouver is headed. He worked tirelessly on this campaign, and he’s got a bright future ahead.

Our School Board team ran an exceptional and principled campaign, and I want to congratulate Joy Alexander, Ken Clement, and Allan Wong, along with the other newly-elected trustees. While the results were not what we hoped for, it appears that we now have a progressive majority on the Vancouver School Board, and we look forward to working with our newly-elected trustees to stand up for public education in Vancouver.

 

Gregor Robertson

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Diego Cardona in Metro News:

Metro

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Diego Cardona
Vision Vancouver's candidate for City Council

On Saturday October 14, Vancouver voters have a choice between the kind of Vancouver we want to build — a city that is progressive, inclusive, and welcoming — or a city where the NPA has more power on Council.

My name is Diego Cardona, and I’m asking for your vote because I’m a new voice who wants to move our city forward on the issues that matter — housing affordability, renters’ rights, and better transit.

I came to Canada as a refugee after losing my father to civil war in Colombia. My sister and I lost our mother to leukemia shortly after, and we were placed into the foster care system. It’s because of these experiences that I have dedicated my career to working with marginalized communities, and helping to give voice to those who don’t normally have a seat at the decision-making table.

Throughout this campaign, I have been inspired by the folks I talk to: from the renters in Kits starting their careers, to the mothers on Commerical Drive looking for affordable childcare, to seniors in the West End trying to make ends meet. Our city is changing, but I believe in our ability to rise to the challenges together.

This election is going to be close, and I would be honoured if you would vote for me and the Vision Vancouver Education team. I’m running a campaign that’s about the new Vancouver, and I hope to be your next representative on City Council. I invite you to read my platform, which covers the important issues we face; please visit VoteVision.ca.

Please vote for me, Diego Cardona, on Saturday.

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This is an excerpt from an article that first appeared on MetroNews.ca on October 11, 2017. You can read the entire article here, and read more about Diego Cardona here. The by-election takes place this Saturday, October 14 — click here to find your nearest polling station, or sign up to volunteer to help get Diego and your Vision Vancouver education team elected.  

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Diego Cardona wants to expand voting rights to permanent residents:

Permanent Resident voting rights

Expanding municipal right to vote will build inclusion, stronger neighborhoods says Vision Vancouver candidate

It's time that permanent residents in Vancouver are granted the right to vote in civic elections, says Vision Vancouver by-election candidate Diego Cardona, who will champion the issue if elected to city council.

“There are about 60,000 permanent residents living in the City of Vancouver. There is a growing conversation across Canada about the importance of expanding the right to vote in municipal elections to permanent residents,” said Cardona. “It would be an important step to help include and strengthen ties with newcomers, and build more connected neighborhoods. At a time when Donald Trump and others are trying to build walls and tell people they are not welcome, we can send a strong signal that Vancouver is an inclusive, progressive place to live by granting the right to vote for permanent residents for City Council, Park Board, and School Board.”

Permanent residents work, pay taxes, send their kids to schools, and can join provincial and federal political parties to vote in leadership races — but they cannot vote in municipal elections. Currently 11 other municipalities across Canada are working to expand the right to vote to permanent residents, including the City of Toronto, which asked the Ontario government to take action.

Vancouver's Engaged City Task Force advocated for expanding voting rights to permanent residents as a key recommendation of their report. The province of British Columbia would need to enact legislation to enable permanent residents to vote in local elections.

Vancouver’s by-election for one City Councillor and nine School Board trustees takes place on October 14. Advance voting is open on October 10. Diego Cardona is Vision Vancouver’s candidate, while the NPA are running a former oil and gas lobbyist and failed BC Liberal candidate.

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Diego Cardona is Vision Vancouver's candidate for City Council in the October 14 by-election. You can learn more about Diego, his colleagues on the Vision Vancouver education team here.

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Diego Cardona's plan for affordable housing now:

We Can't Wait 


Diego Cardona has an immediate plan for action on affordable housing

Vision Vancouver candidate Diego Cardona has a five-point plan for new housing supply in Vancouver, contrasting with unrealistic policy ideas from other by-election candidates that rely on the provincial government instead of taking action right away.

 “We’re hearing a lot of talk about a rent freeze during this by-election,” said Cardona. “A rent freeze doesn’t go far enough, and is far too reliant on another level of government. I’m proposing actual solutions that are achievable, and will make a difference right away. We need a big boost in new rental housing right now. As a young person, and a renter, I’m uniquely positioned to be a champion for renters and aspiring owners on city council.”

If elected, Diego Cardona will be a fresh new voice at city council for these five policies:

  • 1,000 new co-op homes: there is a shortage of accessible co-ops in Vancouver, and with Council set to approve a new 10-year housing strategy at the end of November, Cardona will advocate for the City to deliver 1,000 new co-ops as part of the plan. Under Mayor Robertson and Vision Vancouver, Vancouver saw its first Co-op housing established in more than a decade, first in the Olympic Village and most recently through the new Community Land Trust. “We can use city land and through the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency, deliver a big boost of co-op housing. The city is already doing it and I want to take it to the next level,” explained Cardona.
  • A Vancouver Special for 2017: if elected, Cardona will introduce a motion to have staff bring forward a ‘Vancouver Special’ for 2017 - a new building type that could go immediately in all single-family neighborhoods but double the number homes. “Currently up to three units - a single-family home, a basement suite, and laneway house - are allowed on a single-family lot, but that's not enough. We could easily increase that to 6. Let's develop a new kind of Vancouver Special for 2017 that can double the number of homes in our single-family neighborhoods and give a new generation of Vancouverites an opportunity to live in our city.”
  • A solid vote for cohousing: the city's first cohousing project opened last year on East 33rd near Victoria, providing a community-oriented housing development that blends in with a single-family neighborhood. The project was opposed by the NPA, but Cardona will be a strong champion for co-housing projects throughout Vancouver.
  • Incentives for rental with deeper affordability: in July, Mayor Robertson announced a new program in the Oakridge area whereby buildings offering 100% rental homes can get extra density provided they offer 20% of the homes at rents affordable to people on low and modest incomes. “This policy is an important step from the Mayor and I want to see it expanded City-wide,” said Cardona.
  • More resources to speed up permits: Vancouver is approving a record amount of new housing supply, and as a result is facing permit requests far above normal. “Our economy and construction sectors are booming, and I'm prepared to support more resources in next year's budget to help speed up permit approvals and deliver better customer service,” said Cardona. With Council set to approve the 2018 budget in December, Cardona will champion additional funding to hire more staff to address the record volumes of permits.

“As somebody who came to Canada as a refugee and spent time in the foster care system, I understand the urgency that so many people face struggling to find a place to live in Vancouver,” says Diego. “The NPA candidate says he supports housing supply, but he himself came to City Council in July to oppose more than 300 new homes because they were being built across the street from him. While I have tremendous respect for candidates like Jean Swanson and Judy Graves, their housing ideas do nothing to help people right away and merely consist of writing letters and motions to the province. Vancouver renters deserve better and I will be a voice at the city council table who truly represents a new generation of Vancouverites.”

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Diego Cardona is Vision Vancouver's candidate in the October 14 by-election for one City Council seat and nine Vancouver School Board seats. You can learn more about him here.

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Vision's School Board platform:

Your Vision Vancouver education team

VISION VANCOUVER’S EDUCATION TEAM RELEASES PLATFORM
Ten-point plan builds on Vision’s legacy of advocacy and results

Vision Vancouver’s candidates for Vancouver School Board today released their ten-point plan for public education, which includes advocacy for students and a renewed commitment to seismically-safe schools.

“Vision Vancouver has a proven track record of getting results,” explained Theodora Lamb, a first-time candidate and new mother. “Under the Vision-led Vancouver School Board, trustees delivered hundreds of millions of dollars from the provincial government for seismic upgrades — and we need to keep advocating until every child in Vancouver is in a seismically-safe classroom.”

Vision’s platform also includes reversing cuts to important initiatives like the Band and Strings programs, which the NPA trustees voted to cut.

“The NPA have proven time and time again that they’ll say anything to get elected,” continued Lamb. “In 2014, they held flashy press conferences and pledged that they would never close schools. Immediately after being elected, they voted to close schools. We can’t risk an NPA majority on the Vancouver School Board.”

Vision’s candidates are Joy Alexander, Ken Clement, Theodora Lamb, Mike Lombardi, and Allan Wong. They are joined on the Vision slate by Diego Cardona, who is running for City Council.

 

Vision Vancouver Education Platform

  • Vision trustees will build on our proven track record of advocacy for increased public education funding, with a focus on ensuring that every student can succeed.
  • Vision trustees will work with the new BC government to restore funding cuts to VSB programs, including re-establishing adult education programs, funding for the arts, restoring the Band and Strings programs (which the NPA voted to cut), and investing in French immersion.
  • Vision trustees will expedite seismic upgrades in collaboration with new provincial government. Your Vision education team successfully secured hundreds of millions of dollars in seismic safety funding — upgrading schools like Queen Mary Elementary and Norma Rose Point Elementary. We won’t stop until every school is safe for Vancouver’s kids.
  • Vision trustees will never sell public schools.
  • Vision trustees will expand efforts to green our school system, and support Vancouver's goal to be the greenest city in the world. We’ll invest in energy-efficient infrastructure, and explore creative solutions like geothermal and solar energy, and passive-house energy innovations.
  • Vision trustees will support enhanced programming for vulnerable students, including access to healthier foods, and increase supports for these students. We’ll give inner-city schools the attention they deserve, and work to mitigate poverty so that all students have the opportunity to thrive. We’ll work to re-open the Downtown Eastside Adult Education Centre, and the Britannia Education Centre.
  • Vision trustees are leaders who will advocate for more childcare spaces, and better supports where childcare is co-located within our schools. Vision Vancouver has a strong track record of creating successful childcare partnerships between the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver School Board, and we’ll continue this work if elected.
  • Vision trustees will continue our work to make VSB a leader in Reconciliation with First Nations in our school system, and build on our work to improve education outcomes for Aboriginal students. Under Vision Vancouver’s majority on the Vancouver School Board, Aboriginal graduation rates improved, and we’re proud that Ken Clement — the first Aboriginal person elected in the City of Vancouver’s history — is a Vision candidate in this by-election. We’ll advocate for teaching of local Indigenous languages, and continue our tradition of meaningful discussion about student success between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.
  • Vision trustees championed and implemented the District’s groundbreaking Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities policy, and stood up to fearmongering by two former NPA trustees. We’ll continue to make Vancouver schools welcoming and inclusive, and will champion protections and supports for LGBTQ2+ youth in our schools.
  • Vision trustees will work with the provincial government to expedite building of new schools where needed — including Olympic Village, Coal Harbour, and the River District.
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Diego Cardona wants to expand public bike share to East Vancouver

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Vision Vancouver candidate will champion expanded Mobi bike share to East Vancouver

Vision Vancouver’s candidate for City Council today announced that, if elected, he will be a vocal champion for expanding the Mobi bike share service to East Vancouver.

“Mobi has been an incredible success for our city,” said Cardona. “With more than one million kilometres travelled during the first year alone, it’s clear that Vancouverites are using Mobi as part of their daily transportation routine. Let’s get this service expanded to East Vancouver, so people in places like Strathcona, the new Emily Carr campus, and the busy transit hub at Commercial and Broadway can also enjoy the convenience, environmental impacts, and ease of bike sharing.”

Launched last year, Mobi has been a welcome addition to Vancouver’s active transportation network, averaging between 2,500 and 3,000 trips per day. The Mobi bike share system was introduced by the Vision Vancouver-led City Council, and was opposed by Non Partisan Association (NPA) Council members.

“I fully support Diego’s commitment to expanded bike share service in the city,” explained Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Bike sharing makes life easier — and healthier — for Vancouver commuters, and it’s these kind of forward-looking policies that separate Diego from the NPA’s candidate in this campaign.”

Mobi, Vancouver’s public bike share system, currently extends from Arbutus Street to Main Street. An update to City Council on potential next steps for Mobi is expected before the end of the year.

Today’s announcement follows Cardona’s four-point plan to stand up for renters released last week.

The NPA’s candidate for the October 14 by-election is a former oil and gas lobbyist, BC Liberal staffer, and failed BC Liberal candidate in New Westminster.

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Diego Cardona has a four-point plan to help renters. Check it out:

Vision Vancouver by-election candidate Diego Cardona today released his four-point plan to help Vancouver renters, putting forward specific ideas that can help Vancouver renters right away and are supported by Mayor Gregor Robertson.
If elected to City Council on October 14th, Diego Cardona will champion:
1. Putting the first $500,000 in excess revenue from the empty homes tax towards the Vancouver Rent Bank, which helps renters in crisis and prevents homelessness.
2. Creating a ‘Renters’ Advocate’ at City Hall. This position would be the City's point person when dealing with the Residential Tenancy Branch, and help support renters when dealing with illegal evictions. Many renters often come to the City to seek information to help build their case when challenging illegal evictions at the RTB, and the Renters’ Advocate would help them in their efforts.
3. Advocating for more pet-friendly rental housing. Vancouver needs more housing that is accessible for renters with pets, which is an important issue in particular for seniors, who often deal with social isolation. The SPCA estimates that roughly 45% of cases in Vancouver where pets are given up involve rental housing. Diego will champion more pet friendly homes in City-led developments as well as advocating for new private rental buildings to include a percentage of pet friendly units.
4. Diego will support Vision’s advocacy to the BC government and will continue to stand up for renters by working to stop unfair evictions, go after bad landlords, and make life easier for renters with measures like closing the fixed-term lease loophole in the Residential Tenancy Act.
“This byelection is an opportunity to elect a new voice that represents a younger, more diverse Vancouver,” said Cardona. “I know first-hand the challenges that young people renting in Vancouver face and I'm putting forward ideas that can help make a difference for renters right away.”
“The NPA opposed Mayor Robertson's empty homes tax and they have consistently opposed new rental housing in Vancouver. The NPA are out of touch with the challenges that Vancouver renters face and we can't risk them getting elected on October 14th.”
Mayor Gregor Robertson supports Diego Cardona’s renter policies, saying “we need Diego's voice on City Council as we take action to address our housing crisis. Using the Empty Homes Tax to support the rent bank and creating a renters’ advocate position are two good ideas - and Diego is a fresh new voice who can help champion them at city council.”
Diego Cardona is the spokesperson for the Vancouver Foundation’s Fresh Voices initiative, a youth-led group of immigrants and refugees making British Columbia a better place for young newcomers. He also works in his community as the Programs Coordinator for Kiwassa Neighbourhood House where he manages services for marginalized youth, Indigenous youth, and young mothers. He has also worked with the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, and Immigrant Services Society of BC. In 2016, he was named one of BC’s Top 10 under 20 by the Globe and Mail.
Originally a refugee who came to Canada in 2005 from Colombia, he and his sister spent time in BC's foster care system. Today he is a proud Canadian citizen and is recognized as a leader nationally on refugee and immigration issues.
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