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Immediate Action Required: Say NO to plans to replace George Pearson Centre with more institutions!

Summary: 
Take action today to tell the City of Vancouver that any plan to replace George Pearson Centre with more institutions is unacceptable.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the City of Vancouver are planning a redevelopment of the George Pearson Centre, which houses adults with various disabilities in an institutional setting. Several of the “housing continuum” options presented by VCH to replace George Pearson Centre are institutions – which are harmful, outdated and not provincial, national or global best practices for people with disabilities.

Take action today to tell the City of Vancouver that any plan to replace George Pearson Centre with more institutions is unacceptable.

Vancouver’s City Council has passed a motion that new housing for people with disabilities at the Pearson site must reflect “global best practices,”  which are community inclusion and appropriate supports and services – not new institutions.

VCH’s proposed housing models will ALL be located on the existing site and “qualification” for specific models is based on an individual being “able to independently direct their own care” within a narrow standard of traditional communication. Three of the five options are clearly institutions. This is not acceptable. The “housing continuum” presented by VCH is:

  1. Individual accessible apartments - independent living in rented apartments with individualized assistance.
  2. Clustered apartments - units clustered within a residential building with shared assistance within accessible units and support directed by the person.
  3. Enhanced Apartments - "bachelor-like" units with individuals having common meals and recreation space and care and support directed by staff and meals served communally on a set schedule. This is a form of institution.
  4. Transitional housing/shared supported living – single units with 7 residents, each with private bedrooms and bathrooms. Shared living and dining areas; these units of 7 residents are referred to as houses, but they are grouped within a larger building like wards. This is a form of institution.
  5. Complex Residential Care - wards of 10-15 residents, each with private bedroom and bathrooms, = shared meals and support services; 10-15 wards in one large building. This is a form of institution

We know all people, regardless of type or complexity of disability can and have the legal right to live in the community. VCH has made it clear that people with disabilities would be included in all three institutional models.

While VCH’s plans for the site meets best practices for water management, energy management, and environmental sustainability, they fail in achieving what is even close to any standard of current or best practise in housing support for people with disabilities.

Say NO to Institutions is a coalition of committed individuals and community organizations calling on you to take action. We need your voice to say loudly and clearly that NO Institutions will replace George Pearson Centre. The City of Vancouver is holding an online consultation about the Pearson redevelopment, and it is ESSENTIAL to let the city know that these plans are unacceptable.

You can help Say NO to institutions! Take the following actions:

1.       Write a letter to the City of Vancouver’s Pearson Planning review team, by emailing pearson.planning@vancouver.ca or use our online form. In your letter, please tell the city that:

  •  Options 3, 4 & 5 of the Housing Continuum are institutions and NOT global best practice for people with disabilities.
  •  No new institutions should be built in Vancouver. Institutions put the needs of the system first, and we need to put the needs of people with disabilities first.
  •  This is a human rights issue. People with disabilities have the right to live in communities, not in institutions.
  • Institutions are still institutions – even when built with more privacy, or more pleasant settings. People need real homes in the community instead.
  •  Institutions have bad results for people with disabilities; living in the community has excellent results. This is a world-class project and much thought  has been given to world-class environmental and architectural planning. World-class planning for people with disabilities means no institutions. It means choosing success – homes in the community.
  • You can use our form online or send an email from your account. If you send an email, please cc:us at info@inclusionbc.org.

2.       Use the city’s online consultation about Pearson to give your opinion. NOTE: Please do this before Friday, June 21.

  •  Please note that this survey is about architecture, not about housing for people with disabilities. It has been confusing for many people. If you find the survey confusing, please send an email directly to the city’s consultation team (as above).
  • Go to http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/pearson.aspx; Click on the Progress tab, then click on the Share Your Views box, then fill out the questionnaire.
  • The survey is NOT about housing for people with disabilities, but you must step through all of the questions in order to make a general comment. The three options presented in the survey are not relevant to this issue.
  • At the end, in the any other comments box, write a letter, using the points above, to say that Housing Continuum Options 3, 4, and 5 are institutions, unacceptable and not global best practice for people with disabilities. The space for this is at the very end of the survey, where the “any other comments” box is located.

This feedback will be tabulated and reported on, so your voice is critical! Please participate in this important action and share with others. Together, we can stop the construction of new institutions.

Click here to take action today to tell the City of Vancouver that any plan to replace George Pearson Centre with more institutions is unacceptable.