Vancouver East is no doubt one of Canada’s most diverse and social justice-oriented ridings, full of rich history and cultural heritage. The richness and beauty of the riding attracts artists, cultural workers, activists, entrepreneurs, and families from all cultures and walks of life who want to make Vancouver East their place to work and call home. Vancouver has one of the largest urban Indigenous populations in Canada, and the community is strong in Vancouver East. Heritage businesses operated by generations of families further enrich the cultural and culinary landscape of Van East. Van East has the highest per capita concentration of non-profit organizations in all of Canada.

Like many cities impacted by the affordability crisis, Vancouver East is also faced with many challenges, including an affordable housing and homelessness crisis, and the opioid overdose crisis. Families and businesses with long connections to the community are being priced out, and home ownership is out of reach for young workers and families. Art and cultural spaces are struggling and disappearing with rising rents and the pressures of gentrification. With less green spaces than other parts of Vancouver, Vancouver East is also vulnerable to the deadly effect of heat waves.

To protect and nurture the heart and soul of Vancouver East, it is paramount that we tackle the housing crisis, the opioid crisis, and the climate crisis with everything that we’ve got. We must also support the heritage businesses, non-profits, art and cultural spaces and workers, and entrepreneurs that give Van East its rich cultural landscape.

Van East is where the pulse of social justice beats the strongest and it is my honour to represent this amazing riding. You have my assurance that I will fight every day for all the things that make Van East incredible.

IN THE NEWS: Van Sun - Ottawa bumps up social housing funds for shortchanged B.C.

IN THE NEWS: Van Sun - Ottawa bumps up social housing funds for shortchanged B.C.

Two years ago, NDP MP Jenny Kwan protested that the federal Liberals were directing less than one per cent of their social housing budget to B.C., despite the province being home to 11 per cent of the nation’s population.
The stark imbalance has improved since Kwan aired her complaints.
“Since exposing that B.C. only got 0.5 per cent of the funding, I’m glad to report that more funds have begun to flow to B.C.”

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Vancouver sets ambitious building emissions example for Canadian municipalities

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Vancouver sets ambitious building emissions example for Canadian municipalities

“The City of Vancouver is providing real leadership with this significant change in policies,” NDP MP for Vancouver East, Jenny Kwan, told Canada’s National Observer in an emailed statement.   She pointed to the heat dome that “shattered record temperatures and killed hundreds of people.” 
Homes and other infrastructure in B.C. are generally not built to withstand such temperatures, and solutions like heat pumps and improved insulation help keep us cool and reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. 
Two other Canadian cities emerged as leaders in sustainability earlier this month.

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - ‘Binner’ Ken Lyotier led recycling initiatives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - ‘Binner’ Ken Lyotier led recycling initiatives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Mr. Lyotier followed up United We Can with the Binners Project in 2016, continuing his efforts to bring respect and dignity to the work. That year, binners were hired as “zero-waste ambassadors” for Vancouver’s annual Pacific National Exhibition.

“He was a bridge builder. I don’t know very many people who could navigate that many levels of bureaucracy,” says Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan, a friend of Mr. Lyotier’s since meeting him in the early 1990s when she was a community legal advocate in the Downtown Eastside.

IN THE NEWS: Tyee - Struggling workers face ‘bleak’ future as pandemic benefits end

IN THE NEWS: Tyee - Struggling workers face ‘bleak’ future as pandemic benefits end

Jenny Kwan, the NDP MP for Vancouver East, said she is concerned about the impact the federal government’s decision not to renew CRB will have on the arts and culture sector. According to Kwan, her riding has the highest per capita number of people employed in that sector in the country.

“The pandemic has hit them hard,” said Kwan, who has spoken to constituents who have seen live bookings dry up during the pandemic’s fourth wave.

“With the CERB and CRB ending, it places people in that very, very difficult situation,” she added. “It is a situation where people are saying, how are they going to make rent?”

“The assumption that they might just be looking to collect the CRB without working, that’s simply untrue,” said Kwan. “There are still a lot of people who are still out of work and unable to secure employment.”

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - Federal funding helps salvage Downtown Eastside Vancouver social housing project

The project had to be put on pause in June when the CMHC financing did not come through at the last minute. Anhart co-founder Keith Wiebe and MP Jenny Kwan said the pause was the result of the CMHC treating non-profits like commercial builders when they are granting low-cost financing.

The site has been sitting with a hole in the ground and some early signs of construction since.

IN THE NEWS: Global News - ‘We’ve really reached a tipping point’: Scarred by COVID, Chinatown leaders want city to remember its commitment

IN THE NEWS: Global News - ‘We’ve really reached a tipping point’: Scarred by COVID, Chinatown leaders want city to remember its commitment

Said Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan: “Chinatown as we know will disappear if we do not get the support from all levels of government.”
Kwan wrote Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in July 2020, calling for a lifeline for the National Historic Site in the form of federal emergency funding.
In comparison, federally-owned Granville Island received $17 million in emergency relief in 2020, with another $22 million earmarked in the 2021 budget.
She told Global News she received no response.  “I’d like to ask the government what is the difference between Granville Island and Chinatown. Are we less important?”
Global News put the question to Freeland, but she did not offer a clear answer, and instead used the opportunity to praise the federal wage and rent subsidies.
'We’ve really reached a tipping point’: Scarred by COVID, Chinatown leaders want city to remember its commitment

'We’ve really reached a tipping point’: Scarred by COVID, Chinatown leaders want city to remember its commitment

Said Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan: “Chinatown as we know will disappear if we do not get the support from all levels of government.” Kwan wrote Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in July 2020, calling for a lifeline for the National Historic Site in the form of federal emergency funding.

In comparison, federally-owned Granville Island received $17 million in emergency relief in 2020, with another $22 million earmarked in the 2021 budget.

She told Global News she received no response. “I’d like to ask the government what is the difference between Granville Island and Chinatown. Are we less important?”

Global News put the question to Freeland, but she did not offer a clear answer, and instead used the opportunity to praise the federal wage and rent subsidies.

OPEN LETTER to BC Minister of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Chair

OPEN LETTER to BC Minister of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Chair

It is wonderful that some of the seniors may be able to book an appointment with the help of family, friends, or support workers; sadly, there are those who unfortunately do not have access to such a support network I have heard from some of the elderly seniors in Vancouver East who are concerned that they will have difficulty in registering for the vaccine due to language barriers.
To help facilitate access to this potentially life-saving immunization for vulnerable people, especially for the elderly where language and mobility is an issue, I would like to offer two suggestions for your consideration.

JOINT OPEN LETTER - MP Kwan, MLA Mark and Mayor Kennedy joint letter to the federal housing minister addressing Vancuver homelessness crisis

JOINT OPEN LETTER - MP Kwan, MLA Mark and Mayor Kennedy joint letter to the federal housing minister addressing Vancuver homelessness crisis

We have been facing a homelessness crisis in Vancouver for many years. The number of people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver more than tripled from 2002 to 2017. Since then, substantial investments in housing from the Province and the City have managed to stop those runaway increases, but the situation remains a crisis, especially with the added pressures of COVID-19. According to the preliminary data report from the 2020 homeless count in Metro Vancouver, 2,095 individuals were identified as homeless in the City of Vancouver, with 547 individuals completely unsheltered, and 105 people residing in emergency response shelters who would otherwise be unsheltered.
As your government has recognized in your Reaching Home strategy, homelessness has devastating impacts on the individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as the economic and social well-being of communities. And, like your government, we are committed to helping those who are homeless and share your belief that one homeless Canadian is one too many. However, it must be recognized the existing timeline and resources under the National Housing Strategy are deficient in meeting the urgent housing and homelessness crisis in our community.
Furthermore, in the midst of a global pandemic, the first public health directive issued by all levels of governments – and by governments worldwide – was for people to stay home, stay distanced, and practice aggressive hygiene measures. This is impossible for people who are homeless.

OPEN LETTER to housing minister on cost-sharing plan with BC provincial and municipal government urgently needed to address homelessness crisis

OPEN LETTER to housing minister on cost-sharing plan with BC provincial and municipal government urgently needed to address homelessness crisis

The homelessness crisis is not only an affront to human rights, but also poses an enormous national public health risk. This puts the individuals and the communities they live in at risk. Despite the undisputable importance of housing, I am deeply concerned that your government’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is woefully inadequate.
Based on the response to my order paper question submitted February 4th, 2020, it seems the largest component of the NHS, the National Housing Co-investment Fund (NHCF), has fallen short of expectations. I was shocked to learn that only 23 of 432 of submissions have finalized funding agreements. Even more troubling was the lack of funding outside of Ontario. Among these applications, over 50% of the finalized agreements were from Ontario and over 91% of the $1.47 billion in these agreements went to a single application in the City of Toronto.
Only 2 applications were finalized in British Columbia, which represents 0.05% of these funds. To say the least, this fails to recognize the housing crisis that has impacted Vancouver and communities in my riding particularly hard.

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