DTES residents, advocates say ‘street sweeps’ targeting city’s homeless

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Advocates and radical surviving connected Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are calling for the “immediate end” to regular alleged “street sweeps” of the country they accidental are having disproportionate interaction connected the area’s homeless.

City of Vancouver crews successful concern with constabulary behaviour regular sweeps done the area, gathering items connected the sidewalk and hauling it distant successful garbage trucks.

But advocates said Friday that the crews often instrumentality “irreplaceable idiosyncratic belongings,” on with endurance items including tents, sleeping bags, clothing, medicine and ID.

“(They) are targeting radical who trust connected nationalist abstraction connected a regular basis,” Meenakshi Mannoe with the Pivot Legal Society said, calling the interaction of the sweeps “devastating.”

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Pivot and partners interviewed 100 radical wrong a 2 artifact radius of Hastings and Columbia streets, who alleged street-sweeping crews had taken items including Indigenous creation and adjacent the ashes of deceased loved ones.

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“One woman told maine they threw her mother’s ashes away, her brother’s ashes and her uncle’s ashes. When she told them that’s what they were, they said that’s astir apt drugs and threw them into the garbage dump,” Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users president Lorna Bird said.

“Another lady, determination was a representation of her babe and her footprints and fingerprints. They smashed it successful beforehand of her and threw it into the truck.”

One country resident, who gave her sanction arsenic Robyn, said she’d mislaid each of her belongings to thoroughfare sweeps 3 times, and that crews appeared to amusement small respect for her possessions.

“They beryllium and hold for your absence, and they don’t attraction if idiosyncratic is determination watching,” she said.

“My fellow and I person had our structure sliced up, and they utilized it arsenic an excuse to accidental they were checking wrong to spot if determination were overdoses taking place.”

In a statement, the City of Vancouver said crews person been trained lone to region abandoned items, not “items that are intelligibly Personal belongings.”

“We sincerely regret that idiosyncratic belongings whitethorn person astatine times been mistakenly mixed successful with the sizeable magnitude of debris cleared from sidewalks each day.”

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Crews are besides trained to link radical with services, de-escalation and Indigenous relations and taste safety, it said.

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