Our History

Our coalition formed in response to Carnegie Community Action Project’s 2015 Hotel Survey and Action Report︎︎︎

The Our Homes Can’t Wait (OHCW) campaign and coalition were formed in 2015 by the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU︎︎︎) after CCAP’s annual Hotel Survey & Action Report in 2015 (read the report︎︎︎). OHCW then broadened into a large DTES housing coalition following a series of town halls.

The town halls identified three key areas for the campaign:

    1. Build 10 new sites of social housing in the DTES
    2. Save and upgrade the SROs
    3. Province-wide rent control

10 New Sites of Social Housing

In response to the first need identified by the town halls, OHCW came up with a list of 6 possible city owned sites that could be used to meet the urgent need for housing and be converted/developed into 100% social housing sites.*  We posed that the remaining 4 sites should be sourced by the city. 

*What does 100% social housing mean?


 100% welfare/pension rate housing
Housing governed by and for the tenants, not by supportive housing providers 
Find more resources about social housing here.︎︎︎

The Battle for 58 W Hastings

Why 58?

For years, an empty lot at 58 West Hastings has been at the centre of a fight for social housing in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). Since 2007, it has been the place of numerous actions inc

luding the 2010 Olympic Tent Village, when women- and Indigenous-led tent city︎︎︎ forced Concord Pacific to abandon its condo plans for the site.

Based on its location and significance in the DTES, the OHCW coalition, organizers and homeless residents identified 58 as the most important and plausible sites for developing 100% social housing for the community. 

Summer 2016

During the summer of 2016, OHCW organizers and homeless residents marched to 58 W Hastings, held a press conference, and initiated a four-month long encampment.

In August, community members met with then mayor Gregor Robertson, and demanded he agree to creating 100% social housing at 58 W Hastings.

On the steps of the Carnegie Comunity Center, he publicly signed a contract stating he would commit to 100% welfare/pension rate, community controlled social housing at 58 W Hastings, working with the community to develop a rezoning application to proceed to council by the end of June 2017.

But by January of 2017, it was clear that the mayor intended to break his promise. OHCW pulled out of negotiations with the city, citing a few major reasons why the city’s refusal to accomodate a community vision for the site would mean a refusal to work with them:

  1. 100% Social Housing, Not Social Mix
  2. Housing Not Clinics: Responding to VCH Partnership
  3. Community Controlled Social Housing, Not Supportive Housing
  4. We Want Justice, Not Charity!

From 2018 - 2020, Our Homes Can’t Wait took an active role in working with residents of Oppenheimer Park to push the City and Province for basic services at Oppenheimer. We were active in the successful fightback against an injunction by the City and Province in 2018-19, as well as a successful resistance against a government scheme to freeze under-repaired SROs as a way of clearing the squat while refusing to build or renovate any new housing.