Below the Radar Transcript

Episode 11: Housing justice for Vancouver: affordability, inclusion and redress — with Stephanie Allen

Speakers: Melissa Roach, Maria Cecilia Saba, Jamie-Leigh Gonzales, Am Johal, Stephanie Allen

[theme music]

Melissa Roach  0:06 
You’re listening to Below the Radar, a knowledge mobilization project recorded out of 312 Main. This podcast is produced by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. 

Maria Cecilia Saba  0:17 
Below the Radar brings forward ideas to encourage meaningful exchanges across communities. 

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  0:21
Each episode we interview guests on topics ranging from environmental and social justice, arts, culture, community building, and urban issues. This podcast is recorded on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. 

[theme music]

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  0:42
My name is Jamie-Leigh Gonzales. This week Am Johal interviews Stephanie Allen, a non-profit real estate developer, looking to create housing justice for Vancouverites through her work. Stephanie is also a leader at the Hogan’s Alley Society, working to revive the social, political, cultural, and economic histories of Vancouver’s Black communities, through the delivery of housing, social spaces, education, health, and intergenerational linkage.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  1:06 
Stephanie was recently named one of Vanmag’s Power 50. She has a wealth of knowledge on housing in Vancouver and is helping to pave the way for women of colour to take a role in the development of housing in our city, diversifying the understanding of what is truly needed to make this a livable city.

[theme music fades]

Am Johal  1:28 
Welcome to Below the Radar. We’re here this week with Stephanie Allen, welcome, Stephanie!

Stephanie Allen  1:33 
Thank you.

Am Johal  1:33 
Yeah, great that you could be here with us today to talk about a topic that’s on everyone's minds in Vancouver. You can’t go very far at a social gathering without talking about the cost of housing in this town, and I know that you’ve done a lot of work both in the private sector but also in the non-profit housing development world, working with BC Housing and now with Catalyst. But wondering if you can talk a little bit about how you found yourself working in this area and what you’re finding in terms of what the big questions are for you in terms of how we think about affordable housing, particularly in an urban setting like Vancouver.

Stephanie Allen  2:13 
Yeah, I came to affordable housing from the private sector—I just had a social justice lean to myself—and when the downturn happened in around 2010, I found myself going “Okay, I’m having a hard time finding work and I really wanted to do something that was meaningful.” So I went looking for that opportunity and ended up with BC Housing, and as you said after 6 years there, I’ve been with Catalyst now for just over a year and a half. And I think the big questions about affordable housing—and this is national, this is obviously not just in Vancouver—it’s really a question of who has a right to be in the city and where do people have an opportunity to live, and does that housing adequately meet their needs in a way that offers dignity and the types of things that we expect out of the provision of public good. And with the federal government in the ‘90s rolling back their provision of public housing, what used to be thought of as ‘public’, and now and for decades being out of that game, working only with transfer payments to provinces who, if themselves, would match funds and offer programming. We’ve had this now, this desert, that has happened and it’s accumulated the impacts over time, so we’re all scrambling now and working very diligently to offer solutions and come up with creative ways to harness the programs that do change. We’re in a very fortunate funding environment right now. The federal government has come back with the National Housing Strategy, and the new NDP government is quite aggressively funding housing, which is exciting. So working with these conditions to try and deliver housing in a way that is meeting all the standards that every market developer has to, but doing so below market, below the costs. So very, very challenging work and lots of people thinking about it.

Am Johal  4:15 
And, you know, there’s obviously in these questions thinking through what spatial justice might mean here or in these overlayed contexts of settler-colonialism, in a context where we did have social housing being built in a fairly robust way from the early ‘70s to the early ‘90s, and as you mentioned, this kind of rollback that happened with different levels of government and now, as we begin 2019, where all three levels of government are attempting to be re-engaged in some kind of way, this is still a very different environment than when there was a kind of template that people were working under. And there were contexts of institutional memory in these bureaucracies of how to redo and and create these types of deals. One of the challenges that gets brought up often in the specific case of Vancouver is around land costs and costs of construction as one of the barriers to creating the supply, and I’m wondering your thoughts on that. 

Stephanie Allen  5:21 
Yeah, land is one of the larger challenges here in the Lower Mainland, the cost of land, because nonprofits can’t go out and pay market for land. So we’re not able to go and compete with the market developers who are going to be working with, you know, a significant margin of profit and therefore can take certain risks. Our risks are different, of course: if you offer affordable housing in this city, there will be a waitlist for it. But the ability to pay for land is just not, it’s just not feasible. So if there’s government that comes to the table with a specific intention to look at acquisitions then there’s opportunities there, but the majority of the opportunities involves land that’s either publicly owned through the government or owned by a not-for-profit. That’s where most of the opportunities currently exist when you’re talking about land. Those not-for-profits don’t necessarily have to be offering housing right now; they could be churches, they could be other community-based organizations that are doing programming work and maybe having older buildings that are no longer functional and they have to look at redevelopment. So as they think about redevelopment or they think about repurposing, that’s when they may start to think about “well, we could densify, we could look at adding housing above.”

Stephanie Allen  6:36 
So you’re right, land is one of the largest barriers. Construction costs, also a barrier, and funny enough, it’s...materials are a part of it, but labour is a considerable part of the challenges with construction costs right now, because we’ve been having a boom for quite a while. The market is busy, the nonprofit sector is busy, and people can’t afford to live here. So getting labour to work on these projects is very tough, and it comes at quite a cost. So we don’t have a nonprofit construction industry yet, although that would be awesome, so those folks are, you know, what you pay, you pay what the price is. So those combining factors, at this point, it’s a simple equation, we say often in our work, “you can’t pay market for land, market for construction and design, and deliver below market housing.” So you have to find savings somewhere in there. So Catalyst is a not-for-profit, of course. We have the profit component removed and we look for opportunities to partner on land with groups that own land or governments that offer land for public housing.

Am Johal  7:42 
Now in places like the City of Vancouver, there’s also public infrastructure being funded like Skytrain or other types of things that drive up values of land. And with the new council that we have now, there’s been motions around a land value capture tax, for example, but are there ways, from a regulatory point of view, that you think cities can be doing more in terms of bringing out and ensuring a non-profit or below market housing that’s affordable to people? Because also the investment in public infrastructure often times can also result in displacement of people as well.

Stephanie Allen  8:20 
Yeah, it’s a very complicated proposition, right? Because we want these infrastructure investments, we need transit and we need all these components, but unfortunately the land surrounding that, those infrastructure projects, immediately start to speculate. I’ve heard rumours about what’s been happening along the Broadway corridor line. I heard something astronomical about the Wendy’s site and how much that sold for. So absolutely, I think the municipality needs to look at things that curb that speculation by threatening “Hey, you may go ahead and buy land and you may speculate and think you’re gonna develop a market building here and sell it for $2500 a foot, but we are expecting to capture a significant portion of that.” That at least starts to temper the runaway wildness that can happen. So that, I think, is a positive step. I think we also need to be very intentional about these things going and thinking them through, thinking housing through with infrastructure at the same time. The province has offered municipalities these opportunities to do rental-only zoning, and I don’t know much about how it’s being implemented yet, but what a wonderful idea to think about where there’s opportunities to institute this rental-only zoning in these areas that would otherwise catch fire with speculation.

Stephanie Allen  9:48 
And so when we look at planning and city councils and the work that they do, if they don’t set an intention to deliver equitable, accessible, affordable housing, and rather default to the neoliberal status quo of the ‘market will deliver the solutions’ and let’s pray for a trickle-down to eventually fall down onto someone that is not able to reach those market prices, that’s the failure, and we’ve done that for so long and we’ve seen what the result is: growing inequality in our cities, growing social problems that people are facing that are compounded their lived experiences of poverty and insecurity, and we’re failing! So there’s a mandate here, and I think people have been, you know whatever your political leanings, cities do act locally but they do live within a larger structure. So our government and our systems in Canada and the financial systems and the immigrations systems, all these things do prevail and they live out at the local level, but there has to be I think, and there is, and what’s interesting about Canada, is that even though we have the same federal government and a lot of the same institutions and systems, different cities are approaching things differently. And even in our own region, you see aggressive moves by some municipalities for affordable housing and other municipalities that say that it’s not our problem. So this is the demand, I think, that citizens have to make, community organizations have to make on their local governments.

Am Johal  11:27 
I think one of the questions that come up when you see the massive divides in Vancouver in comparison to say a city like Montreal, this question of ‘home ownership’ really, I think, needs to be put on the table a little bit as to is this the end goal that we’re looking for. If you look along the Cambie Street corridor with the Skytrain and the type of development that's gone on there, or Oakridge Mall development for example in terms of what the costs of those housing prices are, when I talk to people who have kids in the city and are renters, you know, buying a single family home isn’t really on the table from a financial point of view, but what they are looking for is kind of tenure, that if they are going to rent, they aren’t going to be evicted willy-nilly in terms of the way tenancy laws had been watered down and some areas had been strengthened. But there’s still a challenge around how to stay in a place in terms of tenure and how we can create that tenure either through the non-profit or other forms of development. And in the civic election, much was talked about in the City of Vancouver, but are we going far enough here to actually have the kind of ‘facts on the ground’ where we’ll get the type of units that are actually gonna rearrange the rents and the tenure in a way that will stabilize the housing market here?

Stephanie Allen  12:54 
That’s a great question, because tenure is everything, right? If you’re a family and you are trying to live in the city and you are living in someone’s rented condo, there’s a lot of risk. That person may want the private use of it, they may sell it, the new owner may not want it, so it’s a very insecure supply of rental housing there. You have, of course, the non-profit sector who has a lot of existing supply but also new supply. And one of the challenging parts about the new supply is that we have to income test people that move in, and those folks have to demonstrate that their incomes are fitting within the affordability requirements of the both the municipality and perhaps other government structures. 

Stephanie Allen  13:43 
If that family starts to do a little better, and let’s say it’s a single mom with two kids and because of the stability of that housing she’s able to get better employment, better educational training, now kids don’t just have to be going to school with their clothes on their back, they might be able to pay for sports or music lessons—you know, everything that parents might want to do for her kids, but unfortunately her income is going up. And now her income might actually start to exceed the limit for that housing, that immediately is a disincentive for what we’re trying to accomplish by helping people do better in their lives and improve their social and economic situation. At the same time, the nonprofit is like “Well, but, we need this housing for people who need it.” So, this is actually another challenge, and I think why a lot of people are still apprehensive about the nonprofit model in municipalities that make those requirements of affordability, and you know, I think it’s why a lot of people still are quite romanced by the co-op model and find it very appealing because there’s a bit of self-governance there, there’s an idea that we will decide how folks will pay, those who can afford more will pay more, those who can’t afford more will balance this out, all those principles are great. Unfortunately, co-ops have also been sites of discrimination and exclusion. The co-op board having the say, and if those are people represented from privileged classes, they sometimes will exclude other people and racialized people and Indigenous people, etcetera. So it’s a very challenging situation and I don’t think there’s a simple answer, but I think if we’re guiding ourselves by the value of equity and justice, we’ve got to look at solutions that actually don’t penalize people for improving their situation in life, and that actually allow them to stay where they want to be because their kids are in school and this is the right thing. There’s no easy answer, but tenure has to be a part of this conversation in ways that allow people to grow and contribute and develop the actual social connections we so desperately are saying we don’t have in Vancouver, and we want to have. We want to be part of communities and feel connected, so it’s a difficult thing and I don’t think there’s an easy answer.

Am Johal  16:11 
There’s been some private sector incentivization attempts in terms of trying to lock up a little bit more density either with laneway houses or attempts at zoning and duplexes or just going kind of backward and forward at the City of Vancouver. One of the critiques of that is that it often times leaves the equity in the hands of existing homeowners and those who might come in are either going to be renting that additional space or in some sense it doesn’t actually create that kind of equity or justice that people are looking for. But are there forms of private sector incentivization that you think could be helpful in terms of a healthy environment where density is being built up alongside a not-for-profit sector model or state/government built model that would be good for a city or metro region like Vancouver?

Stephanie Allen  17:08 
I think it’s, it’s a sector I’ve been out of for a while but the market incentives right now, or have been, so lucrative for condominium product, and the ability to get in, get out, make your profit and move out, so that’s the Rental 100 program came along in the City of Vancouver to incentivize and laneways as you said and these moves to densify single family neighbourhoods are important moves. But you’re right, they don’t go far enough to share the value that is being created by appreciating land values that homeowners have not themselves sweated off their brow to create— it’s the nature of Vancouver being a global city, it’s a result of all these other federal issues and Canada being a stable country, our economy being stable, Vancouver having great weather, there’s a lot of factors that have driven the value of these single family neighbourhoods, and you’re right, the lion’s share will go to the homeowner if they decide to sell or densify. So two things, I think, and I’m gonna say this and it’s probably going to raise some eyebrows, but...when chattel slavery was trying to be abolished in America, it was the most significant financial impact on those slave owners to give up this very lucrative property that they held. That’s why they went to war, and they died for it! Looking at people and telling them that there’s a justice problem in the nature of their ownership of property is a fight immediately. It’s a very tough thing, but the reason we have to talk about this, I think, in ways that both involve incentive and just political leadership, is because it is fostering such a major growth of inequality. So it takes a political will, I think, to look carefully and seriously and saying “You know, we may upset a block of people, but this is the way we drive towards justice”, just as they did in the time of the abolishment of enslavement. So that’s one thing.

Stephanie Allen  19:25 
But I think the programs such as Rental 100, for them to be I think more towards what we want to accomplish in the city, is that they actually have restrictions that those units stay affordable, or sorry, stay rental, they don’t ever have the opportunity to become privatized or become condos, or whether there’s affordable housing that’s being offered as a component, as a market developer, that there’s no 10 year term, 20 year term. I think for me, that’s one of the criticisms that I hold of CHMC. Their programs do offer opportunities to market developers to take advantage of these programs and deliver market, or deliver rental, affordable rental, but their limit of affordability is only 20 years. So imagine a community that gets built up and immediately there’s that significant swing from where those affordable homes, people living there, to now a swing towards either being privatized or the rents jacking. This is happening in Toronto, it’s happening across the country in a lot of these older rental buildings that were under this program and now the affordability covenant’s up and hey, it’s fair game. So I think the teeth have to be in those programs to hold the market developers, and there’s enough institutional investors that look at the long game and say “Okay, you know, we’re going to park money into rental housing. They do it in other parts of the country and we know we’re going to have this return over time because we’re a pension or we’re something else”, and there’s a financial incentive and there’s no urgency to sell that off.

Stephanie Allen  20:56 
So harnessing those kinds of things, I know there’s some other great financial institutions that have formed across Canada to specifically incentivize. There’s social purpose investors that are trying to incentivize the creation of affordable housing, so somewhere where cities have their power to marry that with this movement is a way to, I think, get affordable housing that is preserved in perpetuity and of course the nonprofit sector who, that’s their mission to do it, they’re going to be doing that forever.

Am Johal  21:26 
And certainly when you talk to people who were involved in developing rental in the ‘60s and ‘70s they really did rely on financing from pension funds and other places because it was a stable place to park your money, get your 7, 8% return over the long term. And it was incentivized through public policy, and you’d throw in the expansion of condominiums in the ‘80s and the returns being much higher over a period of time. Is it time for governments to be looking at dis-incentivizing certain forms of housing development that do actually work against these other goals that you’re talking about around equity, justice?

Stephanie Allen  22:07 
I think that’s got to be the case. I just don’t think there’s enough carrot to really move the needle in the way that we need to move it, because, I mean I think I just read one of these reports from one of these global agencies of one of the trends to watch in 2019 that are gonna destabilize the world and there’s various things on there, and one of those things is the growth of income inequality. This is a major issue and we are not addressing it, I don’t think, in the urgency that it needs to be addressed, and I think it was up there with climate impact. So absolutely, if there’s a political will, and those of us who care about this have to demonstrate that to political candidates and leaders and say “This is what we want to see.” Because right now the status quo has been the stronger voice, the status quo has been the more influential voice, perhaps.

Stephanie Allen  23:09 
And so I think we’ve gotta continue to put the pressure on seeing the needle move in another direction, and I think disincentivizing market developers, I know that where everyone’s afraid of hurting the economy and hurting those things. But if we don’t take lessons and say “let’s diversify economies in ways that people can still make great incomes,” but the capture of public equity and public wealth is not all transferred into private hands, right? When you buy an airspace parcel above a building, that belongs to all of us right now, and we’re privatizing it and giving it away in a way that is a rezoning bylaw with a bit of a capture, but I would argue not enough of a capture, not when there’s so many hundreds of millions of dollars that are being made in profit.

Am Johal  23:56 
When Miloon Kothari, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Housing for the UN came through Vancouver on his last visit a couple years ago, he called Vancouver an “apartheid city” and when he originally wrote a report on Canada, he visited Vancouver 2007 and it resonates a lot with what you’re talking about, so I think your words are backed up a lot by a lot of experts talking about equity. One thing I want to bring up as well, I know that you’ve been doing work with the Hogan’s Alley project and I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about that work that you’ve been doing.

Stephanie Allen  24:31 
Sure. It’s been quite an amazing journey, I think life changing for those of us that have been working on it, not only to stand up in a city where we’re just 1.3% of the population and we’re completely erased from public policy from visibility in any kind of major way, yet still suffer hypervisibility by just being Black in our bodies and walking through the streets and drawing the attention of the police or drawing attention when we walk into fancy stores. So to be able to kind of come together around this project and, for those who don’t know, Hogan’s Alley was a community. It was in the southwest corner of Strathcona, it’s where Black folks who came here and migrated to Canada around the late 1800’s, early 1900s settled, and they settled there for a number of reasons. One, it was the multicultural community— Strathcona was where you’d find visible minorities and people who were Italian-Greeks and you know, considered ‘ethnic white’ people at that time, and so that’s where they were allowed to be, and they weren’t welcome in other places in the city. And Harland Bartholomew, who was the first, he drafted the city’s first plan, was an avowed white supremacist dedicated to segregation and he drafted plans across North America, really based on the whole notion of…

Am Johal  25:57 
And St. Louis.

Stephanie Allen  25:58 
And St. Louis, yeah! I just kinda discovered this fact in my research about how he designed that city and many other cities to specifically put white affluent people in one part of town and we’d call that single family zoning, it was a work-around from the US Supreme Court’s decision that you couldn’t actually zone for race, he found a work-around. You put really affluent homes in this area with no commercial, no industry, and tenement apartments or multi-family uses in another part of the city and you couple that with commercial uses and industrial uses, and back then of course people just polluted, so those were the areas. And then the way that they worked around it also was putting covenants on title that said “No Negroes, Asians, Indians, et cetera” — the words from back then. So that was the lay of the land in Vancouver, so this Black community and listen, Black asylum seekers were coming to Canada since the early 1800s trying to flee the racial violence in America. Canada was a slave owning nation for over 200 years — again, history that we don’t often hear about. So Black folks have been in this country a long time, and in Hogan’s Alley for this region is one the areas where they settled. But it was over time that the City and using and harnessing the programs at the federal level disinvested in this community, created basically a slum by neglect, but putting industrial uses adjacent to their land — again, a playbook that has occurred across North America and then eventually planning a freeway right through the heart of the city. 

Stephanie Allen  27:34 
So at the time, you know, the Black population there had a church that had 800 members. It was a thriving community, there’s lots of stories and photographs of establishments and shops there. Wayde Compton has done some great writing, Adam Rudder did a Master’s thesis on the community. As the City of Vancouver was planning to redevelop the Northeast False Creek Area, those of us who were connected to the story either personally or through or research, we put up our hand and said “Hey hang on, you have to do a really meaningful engagement here with the Black community, who have really suffered the brunt of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaduct construction by their utter displacement and utter erasure from Vancouver.” It has always puzzled people who come here to Vancouver and say “Hey, a big Canadian city. We don’t see a lot of Black people here.” You know, it’s different than Montreal and Toronto and Edmonton and Calgary, and I think I would argue that the erasure and the destruction and the dismantling of this community has had a lasting impact and the anti-Blackness that has pervaded Vancouver policy and government has had an impact. So those are the kinds of things that have brought us to the table, and in the time that we’ve been working with the city, we’ve watched, at least the former council, pivot. They weren’t on this track, they didn’t see cultural redress or reparations as part of their mandate. But we’ve been very diligent and being very clear that this was their obligation. And so, to their credit, they did pivot, they did move. Staff, we worked with some fantastic staff from the Northeast False Creek planning team who, we watched their whole you know minds blow, I think, learning about this history and then understanding the responsibility that we all have to this history of people’s lives that were impacted. 

Stephanie Allen  29:29 
And now, the Northeast False Creek plan has a chapter in it called “Reconciliation”, and within that plan it addresses the Indigenous community of course, who’s land this was stolen from, and it addresses the Chinese community who was in this area and also impacted Japanese community, and then it addresses the Black community and the goals that we have for this land. We’ve been working with the City of Vancouver, specifically addressing the east block of Main Street that sit right under the viaducts, and our proposal has been for a community land trust so that all of the residential space would be nonprofit owned, with the majority being below market, 70%, that there would be opportunities for small economic development opportunities. This town has a housing affordability crisis and a commercial affordability crisis, and amenities and cultural spaces. So we want to see this held as a not-for-profit so that these spaces can be offered and give opportunity to people of African descent and others to create homes and life here in a way that we’ve been kind of stunted and disconnected from being able to do in Vancouver.

Stephanie Allen  30:40 
So it’s been very exciting, it’s a conversation that I think people are paying attention to. We’re connecting with other groups across the country who are pursuing land trusts like in Parkdale in Toronto, Heron Gate who’s dealing with a major eviction there, groups in Quebec, all folks that are trying to see housing justice in their communities for various reasons for low income and racialized people. So it’s been just fantastic and we’re hopeful. We haven’t met with a lot of the council yet — we haven’t met with any, frankly — but we’re hopeful that they will see the importance of continuing the implementation of this vision and this policy, because we are very excited to be able to deliver something that, you know, people in this city talk a lot about the Vienna model. I’ve joked about how tired I am hearing about the Vienna model, because there’s lots of great cities in this world that have great programs, but you know, I think our proposal to make sure that all the 600-odd, 550-odd homes that are developed here are actually held in public hand, that the city does not sell these lands, that they are retained in the city’s hands, and that they are leased out to a nonprofit who would — our nonprofit — who would deliver on this vision, the vision and the affordability. So we’re excited that that’s moving forward, we’ve had broad support, and I think it’s galvanizing people behind an idea that there is a chance for justice to happen. We remain very optimistic that we can keep going, and it’s been awfully hard, because while we’re all volunteers, we don’t have funding to have an organization yet, but we’ve had really wonderful support. We’ve got support from BC Housing recently in coordination with the temporary modular housing project that will be going up on Union Street there, coming up in February. So that’s one of the first things that roll out, it was great opportunity to cite that kind of critically important housing and prioritize Black people who have, unfortunately, are over-represented in homeless population here in Vancouver.

Am Johal  32:46 
A really exciting and long overdue conversation in the city and I hear a lot of conversations as well by people outside of the city really excited about the possibilities of what can happen in Hogan’s Alley.

Stephanie Allen  32:57 
Yeah and I mean, thank you to you! You spoke at the 2015 hearing, I saw you there, it was one of the first times, and you know, a lot of folks had stood up and said “We weren’t affected, you know, directly connected to the Black community and said we need to see a just situation come out of this. We need to have consultation with the Black community.” So we’re grateful for all of that support and the continued support that people are showing us for how vital this is, because it does represent something. How we treat, to quote, the least of our society, is a measure of what we are. And Black folks, homeless folks, addicted folks, people with mental health issues, people who are new migrants to the city, you know, these are the people that, if we structure our programs around them, we’re actually gonna find that everything else starts to work for everybody else. By focusing on the least advantaged, we create better programs for everyone.

Am Johal  33:51 
Great, and I’m just gonna ask you one final question, which is if someone’s listening out there who’s been renovicted a couple of times in the city and is frustrated and living on kind of the economic margins of getting by on day to day life, what is it that we can point to that people can hope for in the city when it comes to housing affordability?

Stephanie Allen  34:13 
I would say hang on, I know that’s really hard and I know when you’re worried about money, it eclipses everything else. It’s so hard to focus, it’s hard to go to school, it’s hard to go to your job, take care of your own health. So I would tell them take heart, there’s a lot of people in this city that are working very hard to make sure that you have the roof over your head that you deserve, and not only the roof over your head, but the respect and the dignity that everybody deserves, regardless of their income, regardless of the privilege they were born into or not, and that’s the work we are busy doing and yeah. I think that it’s hard, and hang in, and if you can stay around, stick around, but if you can’t, it’s understandable, because a lot of people do leave to look for more equitable spaces in other places in the country. So it’s not easy, and we’re doing our best, and you know, get out there and speak to your politicians. Show up at public hearings where you can, support housing projects that are gonna deliver affordable housing if you can, let your voice be louder than the voices that would exclude you.

Am Johal  35:33 
Thank you so much for taking the time to join us, Stephanie.

Stephanie Allen  35:36 
Thank you so much for having me!

[theme music]

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  35:43 
That’s it for this week, thanks for listening! Be sure to check out the work that Stephanie’s doing either with Catalyst or the Hogan’s Alley Society and support in any way you can. Thanks to our production team at SFU’s Vancity Office of Communication Engagement, and to Davis Steele for composing the podcast theme music. And a special thanks to Stephanie Allen, not only for taking the time to come on our show, but for all the work she’s doing towards real housing justice in BC.

[theme music fades]

Transcript auto-generated by and edited by the Below the Radar team.
February 25, 2019

Stay Up to Date

Get the latest on upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter below.