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Burnaby demonstration raising awareness about affordable housing

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Protesters have been at the Burnaby building since July 9th

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A rally for affordable housing is being held this afternoon in Burnaby where protesters have been occupying a low-rent apartment building for nearly two weeks.

Protesters have been at the building since July 9th. Police have been coming and going, and several arrests were made last week, but no charges were approved.

Many say they’ve been here for years and simply have nowhere else to live and can’t afford to buy any of the condos that are being built at this site.

“I never, ever, ever thought that I would have to fight for my daughter’s safety and her home so she can just live a life and I completely support the demoviction.” says one mother through tears who spoke to NEWS1130 earlier this week.

The issue in this case is a condo development is going up on Imperial Street and renters, who in some cases are paying $500 a month for a bachelor, say they’re being pushed out. “We’ve gained a lot of power through this action and we’ve built a lot of capacity, so, we’re going to be continuing to organize in the neighbourhood. We’re not going anywhere — we’ll be here. There are plenty of three-storey walk-ups to continue to knock on doors and occupy,” says organizer Natalie Knight.

One woman we spoke to rents in a nearby building and she’s worried her family will be evicted soon to make way for more condos. “I just ask the people that earn an average wage here, how many people can afford to buy in here? This is a question I want to ask the mayor but he refused to talk to us.”

She adds they have also asked for help from the mayor and his council, but haven’t had any response.

The rally is at 5025 Imperial Street at 2 p.m.