Fellow tenants! Folks have expressed concerns that the Rent Strike Vancouver movement is unable to support legally vulnerable people (sex workers, undocumented folks, those with ongoing legal proceedings, etc). They are right! We are not an organization with vast resources, but a diverse collective of folks who saw a lot of talk about rent strikes and wanted to provide a source of accurate information to those interested about what a general rent strike could realistically look like. The main source of this information is our website, rentstrikevan.ca.
We want to be explicit that we are UNABLE AND NOT TRYING TO provide direct legal or financial support to individual tenants, but rather to offer tools and information which they can choose to engage autonomously with the idea of a rent strike. We encourage tenants to build collective strength with their communities, and to feel empowered to consider a rent strike if they are in a position to do so as safely as possible.
Rent striking is fundamentally risky and we cannot offer a structural safety net for all participants (at least at this time). This means it is not an option for everyone. However, we believe that it is useful for those who feel they can rent strike ‘safely’ to do so in solidarity with those who are currently unable to pay their rent, including the aforementioned vulnerable populations. We believe that a rent strike movement can contribute to creating a more favourable environment for tenant resistance over time, alongside the other tenant support work being done (such as that of the Vancouver Tenants’ Union).
We do not see a rent strike as an alternative to mutual aid or other ongoing efforts to support vulnerable people – we encourage the community to do both.
If people on the facebook group are interested in finding ways to support one another along with or outside of a rent strike, that’s great! Please do not appeal to Rent Strike Vancouver to start initiatives other than a rent strike as this is not what our current capacity allows for. We are happy to provide a platform for these initiatives to be discussed, and if folks want to take action on them, you have our full support.
*If anyone with translation skills is interested in helping us to provide translated information, please e-mail us at rentstrikevancouver (at) riseup (dot) net*