Will Vancouver meet Olympic promise of helping the poor?

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PETER BATTISTONI / VANCOUVER SUN
We can expect the world’s media to follow this story closely when the Games begin in a month. Here is an article from the Seattle Times picking up the topic of Vancouver’s poor.

By Kristi Heim
Seattle Times business reporter
VANCOUVER, B.C. — When the Winter Olympics kick off next month, visitors will see the snow-capped mountains, sparkling coastline and international culture that elevated this city to the ranks of the most livable cities on Earth.

But local activists are planning to showcase another side of Vancouver: chronic homelessness, open drug dealing, mental illness and prostitution that mar the neighborhood only blocks from some Olympic venues.

A few days before the official Games begin, advocates for the poor will stage a “Poverty Olympics,” aiming to push the city’s social problems into the global spotlight. The parody, which claims to “reflect the unique local flavor of the host city,” has a cockroach, a bedbug and a rat as mascots.

“In the Downtown Eastside, the street scene isn’t so pretty,” said longtime community activist Jean Swanson, referring to the neighborhood that a U.N. official called one of the worst slums of a wealthy city.

Read entire article here.

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