Weekly Richmond PRC information round-up 2022

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As another wave of the pandemic sweeps across the country, coupled with natural disasters caused by climate change, in-person and/or virtual services offered by Richmond PRC member organizations are more important than ever. Check back weekly for regular news and updates from service providers and the various levels of government. If you or someone you know would like to join the RPRC please visit our website for more information.

Week of January 24

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 4th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.
If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Online Forum for Non-profit Executive Directors (Thanks to Cory Tymich)

FYI, All, the January meeting of RPRC members included a discussion on struggles of non-profits (pivoting during Covid, keeping up with programs, not being funded or valued in comparison with businesses – gyms, etc). Cory thought it would be a good idea to share the opportunity of Vantage Point’s monthly ED Unplugged. It is a free meeting for ED of non-profits across the country to connect and share. Sessions include a non-profit leader’s presentation and interesting discussion and networking. Register online for the series of monthly meetings.

-> RPRC advocates for Extended Rent Freeze

The RPRC membership in January agreed to advocate to the provincial government to extend the BC government rent freeze until the pandemic is over. Many low-income tenants have had relief from rising rents since the province enacted the rent freeze at the beginning of the pandemic. The deadline was up Jan 1, 2022 but landlords cannot enact an increase until April 2022. Stay tuned!

-> RPRC Campaign for Affordable Rental Housing!

At our Jan 2022 meeting, RPRC members endorsed a recommendation from the RPRC Housing Committee to engage in a campaign advocating for truly affordable, accessible and adequate housing for the 20% of our residents living in poverty and struggling to find rental housing. If you would like to join the campaign, please email info@richmondprc.org for more information.

-> Even more Market Condos coming to Richmond (Thank you Richmond News)

The rezoning public hearing for the Polygon Talisman development (Cambie at Garden City) resulted in approval with three Councillors opposed (Cllr’s Au, Wolfe, and Day). The development will have 1,341 condo units. Only 171 of these will be market rental units and 156 will be low-end market rental (LEMR) units.

This is in the face of the City’s own Housing Needs report 2021 that states the dire need is for non-market housing. Non-market rentals are needed for Richmond residents on low incomes, such as seniors, single parents, people with disabilities, newcomers, and people on government assistance. To the RPRC, it appears City Council accepts staff reports then ignores them. Read the article.

-> More Letters to the Editor Richmond News on Rental Housing! (Thank you Richmond News)

Keep those letters coming in! Thanks to Cllr Carol Day for her letter telling us why she voted to oppose the Polygon Talisman rezoning. She says, ‘The 2021 Housing Needs report states, Richmond had 26 per cent renter households in 2016 and is slowly approaching Metro Vancouver’s distribution of 36 per cent (page 8 of the report).”

“This Talisman project could have been a rental hub working with groups like the Canadian Pension Plan who have a history of investing in long-term, multi-family projects.We have a housing crisis and we need bold new steps to address the issue.” More here.

Steveston resident Michelle Li also spoke at the public hearing and sent in a letter to the Richmond News. Li said, in reply to a previous speaker, ‘not everyone can afford to buy a condo for their children and it just emphasized the need for more rental housing to address the current housing crisis. No one should have to struggle in their life so they can make sure their children can live in the same city. As a teacher, she said she sees many families struggling to find housing in Richmond, in situations that are truly heartbreaking. Housing is not a commodity, housing is a human right.’

-> FREE Soccer program – partnership with Richmond Food Bank and COHO Richmond (Thanks to Richard Harvey)

Richmond FC is excited to launch the COHO Soccer Program this upcoming weekend. This program, in partnership with the Richmond Food Bank and Coho Commissary, will provide free soccer and a hot meal to low income families in Richmond. The program is open to current players and their families who may already receive support from the Richmond Food Bank, Richmond Kidsport, Canadian Tire Jumpstart or Athletics4Kids.

The COHO soccer program is scheduled to run Sundays, January 23-February 27 (and Free March spring break camp, March 14-18). Sundays 11am-12:00pm at Boyd and Whiteside. Ages U5-U16 (2017-2006) are welcome to join and players will be divided up by age.

Included in the free registration are: Uniforms. (jersey, shorts, socks), soccer games, coaching, COHO Commissary free meal at the field for families and players after the session each Sunday. Players will need to have their own appropriate footwear – this could be soccer cleats or good tread running shoes. Contact admin@richmondfc.ca for more information. All inquiries are confidential. Visit the website to register.

-> Let’s Ride petition for Public Transportation (Thanks to Eric Doherty)

Let’s Ride is a BC based campaign to encourage public transportation across Canada. The petition will be read in the House of Commons in March. Please sign and forward. They need as many signatures as possible!

Week of January 17

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 3rd Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.
If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Family Services of Greater Vancouver- Richmond office (Thanks to Valerie Allen)

Family Services is currently hiring for several new positions, including Counsellor. Richmond Counselling Program. Visit our Careers page to learn more and apply today!

-> The Kehila Society of Richmond (Thanks to Lynne Fader)

The Bayit in partnership with The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Kehila Society of Richmond and Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver wish to formally invite you to the 3rd annual proclamation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the City of Richmond, BC on Thursday January 27th at 7.00 pm.

Please join us (virtually) as we welcome his Worship Mayor Malcolm Brodie as he proclaims January 27th, Holocaust Remembrance Day in the city of Richmond.
Featuring Miriam Dattel, Holocaust Survivor Speaker, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. To attend this virtual event please contact Lynne Fader at lfader@kehilasociety.org or rabbi@thebayit.ca to register.

-> Polygon rezoning going to Public Hearing on Jan 17th 7 pm (Thanks to Richmond News)

The public is invited to comment on a 1,300 unit development proposal in the Capstan Station area. The properties require rezoning in order to proceed with redevelopment. The development proposal would include condos with some market rentals and some LEMR (low end market rental) units. But it would not contain any truly affordable units. According to City Staff, building truly affordable, accessible, and adequate housing would require the funding assistance of both provincial and federal governments.

This rezoning proposal also includes the last urban forest in the area and a large farmed field. The public can speak at the public hearing at 7.00 pm on Monday January 17th in Council Chambers and/or they can send in a letter to cityclerk@richmond.ca. The story is posted here.

The Kehila Society of Richmond (Thanks to Lynne Fader and Courtney Cohen)

Hello everyone, it’s that time of year again for us to start preparing for our annual Roses Angels Project. Please find attached to the Weekly Roundup, a letter of information on how you can assist and participate in this amazing program. Any questions please just give us a call at 604 241 9270.

-> Covid 19 News (Thanks to The Sun newspaper)

The BC Health-care system is under tremendous strain due to staffing shortages, Nurses have been saying this for years, but now with Covid the problem is only worse. Nurses are burning out, working 18 hour days, getting sick themselves. But is there light at the end of the tunnel? B.C. modelling shows virus transmission is trending down. Read the article.

-> Another barrier smashed – Gender X accepted on BC ID cards (Thanks to Richmond News)

The BC government has announced that medical confirmation is no longer required to change gender on ID cards. The change allows two-spirit, transgender and gender-diverse BBC residents to self-declare their gender identity on ID documents. The RPRC agrees this has been an equity issue for some time. Having no access to a doctor, or having to pay for a confirmation letter, created barriers for people who wanted to change their gender identity on IDs. Learn more.

-> Let’s Ride! Make Public Transit BC Wide (Thanks to Eric Doherty)

Correction to this post. The petition will be presented in the House of Commons in March 2022. In any case we are sending this out again in the hopes readers will sign and forward the petition, which will be raised in the House of Commons, to all their friends, clubs, and organizations they belong to. The RPRC supports the need for public transit that is inexpensive and connects us to all the services we need. Let’s Ride is a BC volunteer initiative that states, “Public transit advocates across the country are pushing for a National Transit System that would connect all our communities. The more signatures we get, the better!”

Week of January 10

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 2nd Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.
If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org<mailto:info@richmondprc.org> and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> RPRC 2022 memberships are due (Thanks to Deb Turner)

RPRC Membership Director Deb Turner is reminding members to renew for 2022, as our memberships run from Jan-Dec each year. Memberships are only $5 for an individual or $25 for an organization. If any reader would like to join, please go to www.richmondprc.org/contact for the form.

-> Richmond Centre for Disability (Thanks to Ella Huang)

The RCD is back to normal opening hours in the new year – Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Accessing Parking Permit service is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The RCD has made some changes to the activities starting in January 2022 and may impact the coming 2 months. Stay tuned for more updates!

  1. English Classes, Job Club, Mom Language Club, Life Skill classes are switched to Zoom platform. Start dates and schedules remains the same.
  2. All hybrid activities would keep the Zoom format only and cancel the in-person component.
  3. Other in-person activities will have the start date postponed for 2 weeks, starting the week of Feb 7, including Creative Arts, iPad, MS Word, Public Speaking, Table Tennis, Mom’s Dance. If restrictions persist, in-person activities may be canceled. All Zoom activities remain unchanged.

Activity Calendars for 2022 January Term have been revised and are available on the RCD Website. We are accepting registration for the Zoom activities starting in January.

-> Students return to school Jan 10th (Thanks to Richmond News)

Richmond students will be returning to in-class learning on Monday, after the province pushed the start date back amid concerns over the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Sandra Nixon, chair of the Richmond Board of Education, said the delayed restart gave district staff time to develop safety plans and protocols, including continuity of learning plans in case of a health-related or functional school closure. In this piece, she said the goal is to minimize disruption and offer support and stability to students as safely as possible.

-> Richmond’s most expensive property valued at $13 Mill (Thanks to Richmond News)

This property on No. 2 Road between Steveston Hwy and Moncton, was valued at ‘only’ $8 Mill in 2020. The increase rang the alarm bells for Richmond-based FarmWatch, which cautioned that, one by one, farms were being taken out of production and that such mansions, despite being built on farmland, were clearly not being built for farming. Check out the full story.

-> Housing Report by Paul Kershaw and Generation Squeeze (Thanks to The Tyee)

‘Generation Squeeze’ received funding from the National Housing Strategy’s Solutions Labs Program, via the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)*, to take action on one of three pillars in our comprehensive housing solutions framework — the need to break our country’s Addiction to High and Rising Home Values. Read more of the article, and download the full report.

-> 143 pedestrians killed in Metro Vancouver in five years (Thanks to Vancouver Sun )

Across the Lower Mainland, drivers injure or kill over 1,500 pedestrians a year in vehicle collisions. Academics and road safety experts say these aren’t tragic accidents — they’re entirely preventable. And the strategies to reduce or eliminate them are well-understood and often affordable. At the intersection of No. 3 Road and Granville, 16 pedestrians were killed in the last five years. Learn more.

-> Let’s Ride! Make Public Transit BC Wide (Thanks to Eric Doherty)

We are sending this out again in the hopes readers will sign and forward the petition to all their friends, clubs, and organizations they belong to. The RPRC supports the need for public transit that is inexpensive and connects us to all the services we need. Let’s Ride is a BC volunteer initiative that states, “Public transit advocates across the country are pushing for a National Transit System that would connect all our communities. Please sign this petition that will be raised in the House of Commons this month! The more signatures we get, the better!”

Week of January 3

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

Directors and staff of the RPRC wish you all a Happy New Year! Let’s hope it is better than 2021. This is our 1st Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.

If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word amongst our members and associates.

Thanks to the Richmond News for providing great coverage and a continuing source of stories about the overall housing picture in Richmond!

-> Richmond Family Place (Thanks to Ruth Taverner)
Happy New Year! We wanted you to know that, in addition to our ongoing Play & Learn programs at Hamilton Community Centre on Monday and Thursday mornings from 10.00 am-12 noon, our new programs include:

  • Thursday 4.30-6.30 pm Play & Learn Drop-In at City Centre Community Centre
  • Friday 1.00-2.30 pm Sing & Play at Steveston Community Centre

As with all our partnership programs, we will be following the facilities’ COVID-19 protocols, which include pre-registration and proof of COVID vaccinations. You can find all the details below in our calendar. If you need any support to get registered or to get vaccinated, please contact us at 604-278-4336 or email fsw@richmondfamilyplace.ca.

-> More housing stories (Thanks to Richmond News)

Average single-family home prices in Richmond are almost at $2 million. City staff noted in their 2021 Housing Needs report that 95 per cent of Richmond residents couldn’t afford to buy a home in the city if they didn’t already have one. And 90 per cent couldn’t afford a townhouse in Richmond – the average townhouse price crept up almost $30,000 in the last quarter as well. The RPRC questions, what are people who want to work, live, and play in Richmond supposed to do? The full article is here.

-> BC’s rent freeze expires Jan 1, 2022 (Thanks to Richmond News)

The province enacted the rent freeze at the beginning of the pandemic to support British Columbians who were struggling financially. As of Jan. 1, 2022, B.C. landlords may increase rent by a maximum of 1.5 per cent, based on inflation, explains a news release. This increase cannot take effect prior to Jan. 1, 2022. If landlords choose to increase rent, they must provide a full three months’ notice to tenants using the correct notice of rent increase form. Maybe there is time for the RPRC to advocate to the government to extend the rent freeze? See more.

-> City of Richmond Rental-Only Zoning (Thanks to Richmond News)

The City of Richmond has identified 60 properties for possible rental-only zoning, prompting criticism from developers and business, saying rezoning would devalue the properties by 30%. Provincial rule changes allow municipalities to rezone properties as only allowing rentals, and those listed by city staff are currently 100 per cent rentals, some privately owned, others owned by BC Housing or Metro Vancouver. There are also 17 housing co-operatives included on this list. Read the story.

-> BC delays return to school for K-12 students (Thanks to Richmond News)

There will be a phased approach to the start of B.C. schools in the new year. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside joined provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a press briefing Wednesday (Dec. 29) afternoon for the announcement of a phased restart for K-12 schools in B.C. over the coming weeks. For children of essential workers and those with special needs, all schools will open on either Jan. 3 or 4. There will be a full return to classes for all students on Jan. 10.

-> BC Government – Ministry of Health – Vaccines for children 5-11 years

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children. Refer to the addendum to the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines.

-> Accessibility and the BC Building Code (Thanks to VCH newsletter)

The Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing and the Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility are working to update the BC Building Code to make new buildings more accessible. The first step invites the public, including people with disabilities, accessibility experts and advocates, code users, Treaty Nations, Indigenous partners, local governments, building owners, construction industry representatives, professional associations, and education partners to provide feedback about barriers and priorities to enhance accessibility requirements in new buildings.

Please see the Backgrounder (PDF) document for more information about this project and provide feedback through our online survey. Feedback will be accepted until 4pm on January 13, 2022.

-> It’s the Law – Five paid sick days per year in BC!

Paid sick leave will be standard for workers in British Columbia beginning Jan. 1, 2022, with a minimum of five paid sick days each year. B.C. becomes the first province in Canada to legislate this level of paid time off for workers who fall ill.

-> When you don’t need the Emergency Room – Urgent and Primary Care Centres (Thanks to VCH newsletter)

Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCC) are for people with same-day, non-life-threatening injuries, and illnesses when you are unable to see a family doctor or health care provider. The Richmond UPCC is at 7671 Alderbridge Way, 3rd floor. Call 604.675.2768.

-> Let’s Ride! Make Public Transit BC Wide (Thanks to Eric Doherty)

The RPRC supports the need for public transit that is inexpensive and connects us to all the services we need. Let’s Ride is a BC volunteer initiative that states, “Public transit advocates across the country are pushing for a National Transit System that would connect all our communities. Please sign this petition that will be raised in the House of Commons. The more signatures we get, the better! Thanks for your continued support and Happy New Year!”

-> ACORN and Raise The Rates

ACORN Canada is an independent organization of low- and moderate-income people with 140,000 members in 20+ neighbourhood chapters across nine cities. BC ACORN has a letter-writing campaign on the go to ask the BC government to:

  • Raise income assistance rates to $1,700/ month and persons with disabilities to $2,000/ month, both indexed to inflation
  • End clawbacks on IA and PWD cheques,
  • End discriminatory policies that prevent people from getting married or holding jobs, and
  • Engage in a full review of the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act.

Please send an email to demand the BC NDP Raise the Rates.

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