Then, on April 18, poor and homeless leaders in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside launched the Stewart Squat – named after Mayor Kennedy Stewart, whose inaction and incompetence has cleared the way for COVID-19 to spread throughout low-income communities.
Squatters are calling for all poor and homeless people to join the #SQUAT2SURVIVE movement and take over vacant buildings, assert their right to seek safety, security, and shelter from a deadly pandemic, and pressure the government to release the resources necessary for those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Squats are a militant self-defense of the communities most vulnerable to death. For people sleeping on the streets or in shelters, SROs, and modular housing, physical distancing and self-isolation are not possible. These warehouses for the poor are hothouses for the spread of COVID-19.
We argue that dismantling our squats and casting us back into alleys, shelter cots, and cramped modular housing units where we are at increased risk of dying from COVID-19 is a violation of our Section 7 Charter right to security of the person.
Our movement opposes Canada's bailout of banks and bosses as well as Canada's "public" health response, which treats white, settler, home-owning, heterosexual men as the population most in need of support and protection. We fight back against settler-colonial and patriarchal dominance by supporting Indigenous and women-only spaces and leadership structures. We call on all future squats to follow these protocols and center decolonial and feminist work in our defense of our communities.
What is the Money For?
Our goal is to raise $5000 to cover costs of hygiene supplies (soap, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, masks, harm reduction), food, cooking supplies and equipment, sleeping gear and tents, and, if necessary, legal support for squats connected to the broader #SQUAT2SURVIVE movement.
If you have items to donate, check out our list of needed supplies .
How You Can Fight With Us
These squats have emerged out of a growing poor people’s movement. If you can commit to an ongoing fight with Red Braid, we are calling on supporters to donate to us on a regular basis.
If you can support us to keep fighting on the streets, we commit to fighting for you to stay safe in your homes – because the change we are fighting for is systemic, and we are fighting for safe homes for all!
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