Saturday, March 27, 2010

BC Housing Sues Downtown Eastside Residents Association

Photo: Libby Davies, Member of Parliament (Vancouver East) and DERA founder

Photo: Audrey Laferriere, ousted DERA Board member

DERA Board member Audrey Laferriere was the first person I heard whistleblowing about wrongdoing at the Downtown Eastside Residents Association. DERA responded to the whistleblowing by borrowing Carnegie Centre's recipe -- there is some overlap between political operators at Carnegie and DERA -- for handling a Board member who won't be a lap dog. They banished the unruly Board member from the Board.

Looks like Audrey gets the last laugh. I came across the following article in the Vancouver Sun today:

"THE COURTS: BC Housing Sues DERA; activist group falls on hard times"
by Doug Ward"

"....the provincial government is suing the advocacy group for mishandling public money meant to subsidize rents for low-income tenants in social housing.

A statement of claim filed Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court by BC Housing alleges that a housing society run by DERA improperly used rent subsidy money provided by Victoria to help pay for the group's administrative costs."

BC Housing also alleges that the DERA Housing Society used provincial housing money to help cover the rent of ineligible tenants, including directors of DERA and its housing society.'"

Looks like Jamie Lee Hamilton is also laughing last. If I remember correctly, she was the first person to expose DERA for allowing people with union wages to live in subsidized apartments in Solheim Place.

Jim Green, who once came close to becoming Vancouver's mayor, told the Sun that some of the people living in DERA social housing were members of the far left group, Anti-Poverty Committee. Green believes that becoming too tight with the Anti-Poverty Committee, some of whom became DERA staff, contributed to DERA's undoing.

There is no love lost between Green and DERA. Green worked for DERA over twenty years ago but left and started the Main & Hastings Society. DERA had accused Green of stealing money, but he was never charged.

Look who's laughing now.

BC Housing has accused DERA of misrepresenting the cost of administrative services for their social housing apartment buildings, and evading payment of $500,000 in property taxes and rents from the three buildings.

The Court is being asked to appoint a receiver to replace DERA as manager of three social housing apartment buildings owned by the government: Solheim Place on Union Street, Tellier Towers on East Hastings Street and Pendera Place on Pender St."

Maybe while cleaning up DERA's shit, the new management will be quicker to clean up piss in the elevator. A tenant at Solheim Place told me just a couple of weeks ago that the building was no longer being properly maintained by DERA. "Somebody pissed in the elevator and nobody cleaned it for a week." This tenant had a visitor who was upset by the stink and considered washing the elevator, but thought it would send the wrong message as that was a job a union person was supposed to be doing.

Green told the Sun that DERA had some "great victories" in the 1970's and 80's but that he couldn't think of anything they had done for 20 years.

I can.

I've known people who went to DERA for advocacy. Like the guy whose rooming house landlord in Strathcona let other tenants, many of whom were drug users, clean out his room. I talked to this guy at Blenz coffee shop on Granville -- he now lives in a hotel on Granville and sometimes eats his meals at Carnegie -- and he told me that DERA had helped him during a dispute with the landlord, Jack Lee. He and Lee had argued over bed bug spraying or some such thing and he left and returned a week later to get his belongings, only to discover that they had been stolen. His laptop and computer equipment -- all gone. Just a few books and things of little value had been packed in a box and left for him. A DERA advocate, Sobrina, took his case to binding arbitration and Lee was ordered to pay him $4,000, if I remember correctly. Sobrina didn't have a law degree or anything but she was a stellar advocate.

Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, Libby Davies, who helped found DERA along with her husband Bruce Erikson -- we're talkin' before her lesbian phase -- told the Sun that the allegations in the law suit are "very serious". She's right.

I've never noticed Davies actually attempting to curb povertarian abuses on the Downtown Eastside, whether at Carnegie -- she donates cash to the Carnegie newsletter despite their failure to respect free elections -- or DERA. Her son Leif Erikson got parachuted into a job at Insite just a few doors away from Carnegie and DERA.....ssssshh, nobody's supposed to know that. I guess we'll have to rely on Audrey for the whistleblowing.