What better way to call attention to Vancouver’s housing crisis than by taking over City Hall with a little sleepover?
A Facebook page created by Michael Schellenberg speaks in the voice of an employee with the City and invites Vancouverites who can’t afford rent to sleep in their offices starting June 3.
Schellenberg admits it started as a joke, but it has evolved into something much more than that.
“It turns out we have a lot of genuine interest, so it’s changing the game,” he tells Vancity Buzz. “It seems like people are going to show up no matter what, regardless of what I say.”
While the tongue-in-cheek Facebook event post suggests a literal City Hall takeover, Schellenberg says he doesn’t endorse invading it illegally, and the plan will be revised to be a more traditional protest as the June 3 date nears.
“There’s a strong need for solidarity amongst people who really don’t have a voice. We need to talk about the real issues and basically make a list of demands and try our best to get them through,” he says. “Vision Vancouver is well aware of the housing crisis in Vancouver. They talk about it all the time.”
And while Mayor Gregor Robertson has been vocal about discussing the housing crisis here in the city, Schellenberg believes the municipal government has been buttered up by developers.
“We’re not seeing any action for every day people.”
Schellenberg adds they have yet to properly formulate a list of demands, but it will include things like rent control and increasing social housing in new developments.