"The most surprising thing is that we've still not heard from the city"
"I shake my fist at you, Gregor Robertson." Annie Wilkinson, a talented Vancouver illustrator and mother of 2 kids is about to lose her home and she blames Mayor Gregor Robertson. In a blog post titled Homeless, she wonders aloud why she hasn't had a single phone call from the City of Vancouver to explain why they are evicting her, and whether they might give her a break.
One of the big campaign promises from Vancouver’s mayor (whom I voted for) was ending homelessness, and contrary to all promises, the city has just kicked us out of our home. The owner of our rental passed away recently with no will and I mistakenly imagined that there would have to be an amount of time that passed before the city, the trustee, could sell. What if an heir turned up? I guess I was wrong...
Why does the city have to kick us out of the place where my daughter was born?
City Hall watchers recently witnessed some of the most painful pontification from City Councillors and Mayor Robertson ("this is a real bummer," said Gregor) around the loss of rental housing at 4550 Fraser. Gregor even tweeted about the Fraser Villa demolition.
However unlike Fraser Villa, when it comes to something Vancouver City Hall can actually change surrounding affordable housing, they're silent.
It’s looking pretty likely that the best possible outcome will be finding a basement suite for double the amount we’re paying now somewhere way the hell out so that my son will have to change schools and we’ll have to buy a car just so we can get anywhere.
I visited her website and I was frankly blown away by her beautiful portfolio of work. I read kids books all the time to my child and Wilkinson's whimsical illustrations are among some of the best I've seen. If there's a children's book writer out there, someone give this gal a call because she's very good.
I emailed Annie because I was curious for more details on her plight. What kind of building was it she lived in? As the City became trustee after the landlord died, why was it that she needed to leave so quickly, etc? Annie explains:
The building we're living in is a duplex, we're on the top floor and there is a one bedroom that's rented underneath. Its on a giant lot though, so I can't say that I'm entirely surprised - we figured that the original owner would eventually sell to someone who would tear this down and put up one of those "10 distinct townhomes". Essentially the owner passed away without a will and the city assumed ownership and is selling. As I mentioned in the blog, the most surprising thing is that we've still not heard from the city or the property management company.
In her blog post she describes with a remarkable amount of humour considering her situation, about how a property manager insists on showing the suite during the dinner hour on Sunday.
While we might understand that the City must be careful not to get spending taxpayer dollars foolishly, in this case the property appears to have been handed over a lot of valuable property for free. If this City Council is going to really do anything beyond making empty statements on homelessness, perhaps they could start by talking to Annie Wilkinson.