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'Happy day' as Downtown Eastside tent city comes down

The makeshift tent city in the Downtown Eastside was expected to be dismantled last evening, with organizers calling it a success that helped more than 60 homeless people get into permanent housing.

The makeshift tent city in the Downtown Eastside was expected to be dismantled last evening, with organizers calling it a success that helped more than 60 homeless people get into permanent housing.

Wendy Pedersen, member of the Carnegie Community Action Project, called yesterday “a happy day.” According to her, the shantytown of tents, shopping carts and tarps brought some overdue attention to Vancouver’s homeless.

“This is a good thing. Homeless people are realizing if they come out in the open and if they camp in a visible and provocative place, they are going to get some attention,” she said.

A group of 40 people who camped out on the empty lot at 59 W. Hastings St. during the Olympics were offered housing in provincially owned single-room occupancy hotels, with another 25 hoping for the same yesterday.

Kanaska Carter, a homeless busker from Newfoundland, said she has no options and plans to stay at the tent city until she’s offered a more permanent accommodation.

Pedersen said since the strategy was successful, more tent cities could spring up in Vancouver once winter shelters close on April 1.