It started four years ago as a protest against the lack of affordable housing in a traditionally built neighborhood for and by the working class.
It started with a tent or two, and the phrase “This is my home,. Now the VPD is on my street, evicting my neighbors, taking their stuff, and throwing it in the trash while saying this is for “public safety.”
There’s a part of that, that is true. There are rumors of women being raped day and night in the tents, and photos of propane tanks and guns being hidden under tents and throughout the encampment. Surely this isn’t safe and we’ve learned that repeatedly as we’ve seen one after another building torn down after a fire ripped through the halls killing several of the people who live there.
I’ve worked with folks who live on the houseless spectrum, and I’ve worked to help find them places to be if that was what they wanted. Tomorrow I’ll be living in a hotel until I can secure a safe place to live and exist. I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that I’m one parent away from being completely houseless.
I have been asking for help but the people who can help are doing everything they can to find us a safe affordable apartment. This is coming from a woman who has extensive reach in local politics, I’ve reached out to everyone I know, or my mom has, and they’re all looking, yet if we cannot with all our privilege find something, what hope do people who are currently houseless have?
There have been comments about how I need to watch the political stuff on this blog because it might turn some folks off, but how can I be authentic when I am not talking about the things that affect me?
This affects me deeply. I could be one of those people out on the street but for the Grace of whatever is out there watching over myself and my mom. I’m terrified, I’ve written about this before, but more so because the systemic changes that need to be made so that this shit doesn’t end up happening to folks across the globe are not being made. And they are deliberately not being made, because poverty is a design.
Yes, lots of folks escape poverty. Yes lots of my friends have been houseless and homeless and they have found their way out, and yes I could ask them for help and I have in some cases, but that’s not the fucking point.
The point is that no one should live without knowing they are safe, and protected from the elements, and that includes other human beings.
It’s a scary time to be alive, and positive thinking is not going t get me out of this situation. It’s going to have to take hard work and a lot of grit, I’m prepared for that. I’m tired, but I am prepared. I know what life is going to be like for the next little while, and I’ll keep continuing on because I refuse to feel so bad for myself that I end up giving up.
What I do know for absolute certain other than that I am going to be okay, is that what is happening in the downtown Eastside is absolutely tragic for everyone involved.
There has been an increase in drug addiction and poverty over the last few years, not less, and even though people are being turned to shelters, that doesn’t mean there is enough room in the shelters to take them.
Most of these folks will be back tomorrow with new tents, or next week, and nothing will change until the people of this city actually stand up and demand actual and honest change from the city itself.
It’s not enough to tear down tents and assume everyone is selling or addicted to drugs, you need to create programs for people to go to get help if they wanted, and homes for them to live in where they won’t be turfed out because they can’t afford rising rents.
We need actual and honest rental agreements in this city with affordable rents and programs for people to get help. It shouldn’t be as hard as y’all are making it look.
I hope that helps.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
If you have thoughts you’d like to add about this post, please leave a message, and let’s talk about them in the comments below
There are several ways to help support this site, if you’re interested, it’s much appreciated. Supporting this website means you’re supporting a disabled mixed-race Black non-binary/she houseless person. Thank you so much for your efforts. It means the world to me and convinces me to keep going.