In Vancouver, finding a place to live can be difficult. Options for affordable housing are limited as new spaces rarely open. Unfortunately, the lack of options has pushed many to the periphery as they are forced to live on the streets. For some, this tenuous situation is unacceptable and a group of activists decided to occupy an empty building within the city. In recent news, housing advocates squat in empty buildings in order to highlight the lack of affordable housing in larger cities. However, this story takes place over 60 years ago.
After the end of the Second World War, returning veterans found it difficult to secure a roof over their head as new construction in Vancouver had stopped due to the war effort. The Hotel Vancouver had acted as a barracks during the war, but was left empty once the war had ended. Despite a military guard protecting the vacant hotel, thirty-five veterans took control of the building and turned it into veterans housing. Occupy Vancouver - The Vets Who Took Hotel Vancouver, produced by Carrie Swiggum tells their story.
This documentary was produced by CJSF in Burnaby, BC as a part of the Making Time For Radio project with funding from the Community Radio Fund of Canada. The multi-year series featured stories from survivors, activists, storytellers, and community advocates.
Carrie Swiggum is a freelance writer, editor, and radio producer based in British Columbia.
Thanks to CJSF for giving us permission to run the documentaries from the Making Time For Radio Project.
Image Credit: Flickr / Vancouver Public Library
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