This has kind of given me a break to settle down until I can get into a house, instead of being on the move all the time. Before this I was on the move all the time with my bike and my trailer, and when I got here [Woodwards] I finally got to rest, I finally got a home. When you're homeless you are constantly moving around. I finally got a home so I can rest and sleep.


Craig Ballantyne

I want to personally thank all the people of Vancouver for their generous support and donations over the past few weeks.

We want the keys to the Woodwards building, or any other four buildings in the downtown east side that are currently sitting empty. There are many other buildings around that could be converted into social housing--why are we not utilizing these buildings? We do not want to end up like the U.S. with high homeless rates, which, in turn, lead to other problems. We need to explore other avenues to deal with the homeless situation, not only here in Vancouver but right across Canada. I realize it's a slow process, but I would like to see housing provided for at least 1000 of the downtown east side people over the next 5 years.

p.s. I need a smart young female lawyer who is willing to take my case to the Supreme Court.

Editors Note: Craig Ballantyne is actually 37 years old and not 43 as reported by the Vancouver Sun.


Sunder (supporter - well known for her ginger-lemon-honey hot drinks)

Every community needs services that have to be provided by someone, whether private or government--food, shelter, health-care. This community is no different. Each and every human being needs love, respect, inclusion and support--you know it's true. It's true for you!

Imagine for a moment that you don't have any judgements about joblessness, poverty, or the illnesses of addiction and alcoholism… imagine that you really want to find the solution, the cure. We are an educated, talented, wealthy society. Stop the greed, confront the fear, and get down to the business of caring and sharing!

The government and the wealthy of this province need to come forward immediately with financial and practical support to provide shelter, support, and treatment. Both short-term and long-term actions need to begin NOW.



No more bars, let them out
Thumbs up and fuck the puck
Move along and smell the flowers
Ticketed by sky police, what luck?
Hard cops, as a fact
The honor system indeed
Bring the ticket taker, turnstiles back
Too costly for these
So now the chief of police has decreed that they see, they now crap on the street
After world war evidence says it's disarmed
The Broken bricks and pointy sticks
But security challenges me as I plead
To dispose of these in a bin far from where they can be reassessed
Cop rocks, guns we've got our own observations
Watching TV, watching security
Force power coming down on me
Each quarter hour fraught in close space when rattled, got a headache go for a walk
One night for a visit to be with a friend
The fight ended the weekend.
Four hours in the wagon
Five hours in a cell
Now out and keeping conditions
The sunshine on my face because I like you, I guess.
The angry look upon his face descending as a mob
Smashing the kitchen, our food, our supplies. It's the police, its fear and violence
This is law and order?


Boss Rock - Okimah Asin (Bev Jones)

I am a social worker and have been homeless and couch-surfing since May 1st thanks to the Campbell cuts that were implemented during the past year. Some of the people down here call me the Shaman of the squat, but I consider myself a spiritual helper. The squat has been referred to as "Campbell Ville" but I find that insulting to the community here, I prefer to call us the Woodwards Social Housing Coalition. We now have an office at #9 East Hastings where people can send donations for food and much needed supplies.

Sometimes narrow-minded people drive by and yell out the window "get a job you bum!" and to them I'd like to say "why don't you try wearing my shoes for 24 hours here at the squat, come and stay overnight sometime" What we're doing here IS work, what you see here are effects of policy changes implemented by the Liberal government. I worked as a social worker for 13 years and would like to remind people that almost everyone is merely one step away from being here on the sidewalk with us.

This is where we live. Woodwards was bought by the government for social housing, and we will stay here until it is returned to us as social housing. If we had alternatives, who would CHOOSE to live on a sidewalk in the downtown eastside?

I am here for the spiritual component (non-denominational) which is needed just like in any other community. It helps to keep people grounded. People here have a right to be angry, but we have to find ways to keep the place safe for all of us here. We are all human beings deserving of basic human needs-food, clothing and shelter.

There's been a lot of talk about there being mostly activists and anarchists here, this is not true. I'd like to invite people to come down, sit down and talk to us-come stay overnight, we don't bite… (only when we're hungry)…


Rod McIvor

The civic elections are coming up and I'm not sure how much good will come of it. It is still a toss-up. The problem being that even well-intended people voted into government tend to dissolve their original intent when they get caught up in political protocol. It doesn't matter so much WHO gets voted in, but rather WHAT they are willing to sacrifice to make necessary changes.

People are deserving of respect, whether they are rich or poor. When you see some rich guy, a Hollywood producer or someone like that, walking down the street drunk, he's no different than some guy on the corner here drunk on Lysol-you can't see the difference anymore.



What I want is a safe and secure place to live while I'm on disability. We are all human beings desiring respect. As part of the Woodward Squat we are a visible group, but as individuals we are hidden, invisible in our society though we are numerous, each with our own stories. There are not enough clean, decent rooming houses available. People who are sick or have weakened immune systems should not be exposed to filthy rooming houses infested with mice and cockroaches!

We should think about how it is that we can send financial aid to third-world countries while we try to sweep our own backyard crisis under the carpet.



Basically, what we want out of this is for the government to take a second look at what they are doing with BC housing, which they cancelled out, which they don't have the right to do. The citizens of BC fought for that to happen for over 30 years. And Mr. Campbell has no right to cancel it.

He has no right to cut health care and he's got no right to make nazi law on UIC. Because those are things that our forefathers, my father, and myself, when I was working, and all the workers here have been fighting for since 1945.

We gained unions as well, which he's starting to break, through our sweat, through our broken bones, through our blood and through a lot of hard work. What the Liberal government is doing right now is the same thing as the big corporations were doing in the 1800s. They're trying to reinstate slave labour, cheap labour without any rights for the workers.

He thinks we are going to take that, say thank you, and lay down and die. I'm not about to do that!

We've gained some small victories here at the Woodward building, I personally know of four people who are detoxing right here on the street thanks to the support of the squat community, without being able to get into detox centres.



Jerry Carter

Give us access to the Woodward building! At least let's do something with this building, it's been sitting empty for so long. It feels like no one wants to come down here to talk to us. There are nice people who come down, drop off donations, and disappear. At least Larry Campbell was one politician who came down here to actually talk to people.

What I want is for people to vote. I guess I think if we want to change anything, the voters got to get out and vote so that there can be a change.




I joined the squat on September 22, my birthday, more as a supporter…someone who is barely a step from being out here. I can't find social housing and have been couch surfing and relying on the kindness of friends. I come down here to help out-cleaning, garbage pickup and night-time security. Was in Ontario before, looking for work, when they lifted the rent control. Suddenly it became extremely hard to find a decent affordable place. Right now I'm working as a temporary labourer but am still looking for full-time work.

We need to vote the right people into government, politicians who represent all people in society, not just the wealthy. We need representatives for the working poor and mentally ill. We need to give a wake-up call to the middle class that they can end up in the same situation if they're not careful about whom they vote into government.

We need solutions that give people a chance, instead of keeping them down. People WANT to work for what they need, but not everyone is capable. People are desperate and doing drugs to numb the pain of being down here, of being the forgotten ones - it's their way of escape.

There should be a roof over every head. People should be treated better than animals, or at least as well. At least animals at an S.P.C.A. have a roof over their heads, which is more than the people down here have!




What I want is respect for all, all of us here.

Everyone is here with their own plan, there own piece of the puzzle.



Dan Lindsay (BC Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Society)

Right now I'm an unemployed Alcohol & Drug councillor, due to the liberal government cuts. So far I've spent two weeks down here to support what's going on and to help look after people. This started up in order to draw attention to the fact that the Woodwards building for the last ten years was supposed to be social housing, but we've expanded in the last month far beyond that. This is not just a comment on social housing, this is a comment on all the cuts by the liberal government. There has been very questionable media coverage of events, which imply close relations with the liberal party (i.e. the banners critical of Campbell airbrushed out of Vancouver Sun photos). There's a smear campaign underway claiming that the squat is being run by professional political activists, which is B.S. We have had a lot of help and outside support, from Unions as well as the Anti-Poverty Coalition, although very distant support. If you look around there are all kinds of people here, people without hands, missing legs, senior citizens, people far lost in addiction-we've got all kinds of people, there is no one particular kind of people, and all their stories are different.

We've turned into a Triage Centre-we're administering first aid; we've arranged with different agencies and church groups to get some of the pregnant women placed into homes; we're delivering over a thousand meals a day out of our kitchen,(and if you've seen our kitchen-it's basically two burners and a baby bathtub for washtub). This isn't just about the homeless people-this has now become a Mecca. The people are coming out of the alleys, especially the women, because there is safety here now, we have some security as well as medical attention available. We don't say "well you're a squatter, you're a resident, you're homeless or you have a home" - these are simply people in need!

They can try to smear this any way they want, but we're getting bigger and this place has attained a life of it's own, it's phenomenal here. This has now ballooned into a comment on the entire liberal regime. Thanks to the cuts, there is no treatment, and the beds that are still available have extremely long waiting-lists, almost no one can get there. We did manage to get one guy into detox, and one into treatment, one pregnant lady into a room, and one aboriginal fellow sobered up after a suicide attempt, re-aquainted with his home band and we got him a bus-ticket home. We're not trying to keep people here, in fact, we're trying to get people out of here!

I used to have a lot of respect for law enforcement, but with what is now going on around here, I don't know - it's become a war on the poor, a war on the sick, a war on the homeless and it's disgusting!

As far as the civic elections go, there is only one candidate I've heard of so far who has as part of his political platform the Four Pillars Plan, and that is Larry Campbell. I sat on the North Shore Substance Abuse Task Force and helped develop strategy which is reflective of the Four Pillar Plan that was started here by Philip Owen. The four pillar approach is the only way to go, it's so obvious. People say: "you gotta get off drugs," well how can people get off drugs when they've got no home and it's pouring rain and you're sleeping outside--basically you need the drugs just to survive the night in the bitter cold. In the hierarchy of needs, these people don't care about politics. They don't sit around having philosophical political discussions. They spend their time looking for something to eat and a place to sleep and a way to avoid abuse.



Tobacco, we definitely need more tobacco!




We're sitting here for world change, world understanding.

The squat started over the concept of housing, but that is only part of what I want to address. We throw away more food than the world can possibly use. I don't understand why we let our brothers and sisters go through this in such a rich country. We need to stop fighting each other and start sharing the wealth, there's plenty for all of us. We're behaving like Neanderthals. We need to change-we'll still have our squabbles, but let's become a family and change our understanding of the world.

Elders and students are the most valuable assets of our society, so why are we taking so much away from them? Our students are our future, the ones to take us to the next level, and we should be helping and encouraging them along their path. Student loans should be interest-free instead of letting banks make so much money on them. The cuts for seniors are extremely hurtful. If our government is so far removed from anything human, we need to stop, reconsider and vote someone in who truly cares.

Rooming houses need to be cleaned up, fumigated, fixed up and made a bit roomier, more comfortable. That kind of housing in inadequate for a human…it's like a cell, like living in a jail. You've got security guards downstairs, and rats, mice and cockroaches to fight for room on the bed. It's pathetic that humans have to live this way, a national disgrace! To fix it would cost only a small fraction of what an Olympic highway project to Whistler would cost. If they can fundraise millions of dollars to keep a hockey team on Canadian soil, why can't we fundraise for the people that are really hurting and in need? Let's help each other -- "am I my brother's keeper?" Fucking A! IF I can help my brother or sister I'll be there for them the full 9 yards. Probably if every Canadian donated $10 our entire problem would be fixed.

We're a society with Television-Tunnel Vision concept: 2.5 kids, a house and 45 years of labour for a gold watch. People get caught up in the trappings- scrambling to pay their mortgage and feed their kids, always scrambling to survive. Some of us are living down here in physical boxes, but most people in our society are also living in boxes-psychological ones. This is not the way humans were meant to be…they're meant to be creative, to be expounding on all walks of understandings, not just the simplicities of corporate or monetary understanding. We've somehow gone way off track somewhere…all this suffering is truly unnecessary.

I'm calling on people to send their spirit our way, throw your thoughts our way. Even if you're sitting 1000 miles away, send your energy our way. That's all it takes. Think of us and think of the moment we are at, and we can change the world if we want to. If we want to understand what we are doing and how humans work, let's try that. I wonder what would happen if the whole world said ENOUGH! Do we grow up then, or do we stay stagnant…do we follow that energy, or do we let it go by.

We're all part of one thing, and if we embrace that thought, imagine what we could change… asking for acceptance, peace, and enlightenment.

We're sitting here for world change,… world understanding.


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