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Jim Green: The democratic solution

Globe and Mail Update

Former Vancouver councillor and DTES advocate Jim Green takes your questions ...Read the full article

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  1. Helene McKenzie from Thunder Bay, Canada writes: How likely is it that any social programs aimed at the DTES will receive funding from the present federal Conservative government?
  2. Russell Mawby from Canada writes: Jim, I'd like you to comment on the 'neighbourhood czar' approach proposed in this series.

    My comment is that, in theory, this is a good approach because for once it might bring a broader systems approach to the issue, given that one way of understanding homelessness is as a systems failure.

    Many of the people who drift through the East Side have literally fallen between the cracks of systems that continue a) treat symptoms rather than causes and b) tackle problems in silos - 'mental health', 'crime', 'housing', etc.

    If in fact one person, or at least their office, can start to join up the solutions, what do you think are the key factors needed to make that approach a success?
  3. Jessica P from Canada writes: Do you think that the gentrification of the downtown eastide is contributing to the housing and drug crisis in this neighbourhood? If so, what actions do you think local organizations, the city, and the government can take to protect and assist this vulnerable group of citizens?
  4. Christopher Spencer from Edmonton, Canada writes: There is a lot of pressure on established communities to embrace densification projects. How important is it to ensure new housing suits 'women and children' as a way of preventing future decline? Mostly developers want to build apartments and condos with one bedroom, not that practical for families.
  5. K L from Montreal, Canada writes: Hello Mr. Green,

    What are your thoughts on DTES evictions from SRO dwellings during the 2010 games. Are you concerned tenants will forced on the streets like they were in 1986?
  6. Ray Argyle from Toronto, Canada writes: In all the dismal news about the Downtown East Side, what role do you see for the private sector in redevelopment, and do you see any glimmer of hope for the district and its residents?
  7. Gary Croome from Canada writes: In a society that wants 'quick fixes' to most any issue, how can we respond to the general public with the hope that they may understand the complexity of the problem, and that it involves much more than the DTES? How can we gain support, to pressure our politicians and stress to them that across the country, we need to support initiatives such as INSITE, the 'women-and-children-first' approach to housing or other mental health support programs.
  8. John Ryckman from Canada writes: Mr. Green

    How are policies that seem to entrench poverty in a 'Zone' within the city ever going to solve this problem. The downtown eastside is a trap and it seems that maintaining the existing community will do nothing but perpetuate the situation. Why not Gentrification?
  9. heather macandrew from victoria, Canada writes: I have two questions for Jim:
    1. 12 years ago you took me on a little tour of the DES and we talked about 'community'. You pointed out to me things like the 4 Sisters Housing Co-op, Bruce Eriksson Place and other examples of places where a mix of people were finding community. There was alcoholism and drug abuse but crack and crystal meth had not yet enveloped so many. In 12 years it seems there are more people on the streets of the DES, many of them badly addicted and barely able to function. Have you seen a change in the DES in the past dozen years and if so, what, in your view has caused or contributed to the more visibly desperate state of humanity there?
    2. Could you elaborate on your idea of 'women and children first'? Is it partly Jane Jacobs's idea of 'eyes on the street' and partly that people will help make a community safe if children are a visible part of the mix?

    Thank you,
    Heather

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