Block The Closure Of TD Mods! Tenant-run Housing Now!
August 18, 2020
Nickerson Place, or as the Whalley street community calls it, the “TD mods”, is a 46-unit supportive modular housing complex operated by Lookout Society. Tomorrow, the TD mods are slated to be shut down, even though no additional low-income housing has been built to replace them. We are taking over the TD mods to resist their closure and create what we need to survive: tenant-run housing.
With COVID-19 continuing to threaten the lives of the poor, we will not silently watch as what little shelter we have is destroyed. There are over a thousand homeless people on the streets of Surrey, and as the Province’s selective moratorium on evictions expires, thousands more will be evicted to streets, shelters, tents, and cars. Homelessness was a crisis before COVID-19, and while the government released resources to shield middle class people from the pandemic, all levels left the poor out of their public health response. For low-income Indigenous and working class people, the government’s insistence on returning to “business as usual” is a death sentence, because we were already dying of homelessness, poverty, preventable drug overdoses, and police and bylaw brutality before the outbreak of the virus.
The “TD Takeover” is a resistance action. We resist the closure of the mods, which are desperately needed as shelter. We resist the City of Surrey’s aggressive plan to gentrify Whalley and cast us out of our own neighborhood. We resist Bosa Properties’ plan to build luxury condos on top of the graves of the kin we have lost to the war on the poor. We resist the institutionalization of poor Indigenous and working class people by Lookout Society and all supportive housing providers.
By occupying the TD mods and evicting Lookout Society, our movement is taking for ourselves what the government, property developers, and the non-profit poverty industry will never and can never give us: housing that we control ourselves. It is time to rise up and claim what we justly deserve: homes, not shelters. Homes, not jails. Homes, not “supportive” institutions that are jails in disguise.
The TD Takeover is part of a movement for all poor Indigenous and working class people. For our Indigenous street kin, supportive housing is a colonial institution designed to disorganize Indigenous communities, break up kinship networks, alienate us from our lands, and stop us from rising up to assert our sovereignty. For our Indigenous street kin, gentrification is a colonial process that commodifies our lands and hoards wealth in the hands of settler corporations, ensuring that as long as land and wealth are treated as private property, Indigenous people will be second class citizens, homeless on our own territories. COVID-19 is the new smallpox: a genocidal pandemic unleashed by colonialism, like a barrel of gasoline thrown into a fire that’s been burning since first contact.
For our working class street kin, supportive housing is a warehouse for the growing ranks of workers who capitalism has chewed up and spit out. Like the madhouses and workhouses of the early industrial era, supportive housing is a total institution designed to absorb and discipline unruly populations that are unable or unwilling to contribute to capitalist production. For our working class street kin, gentrification and the threat of homelessness disciplines us into keeping our heads down. And COVID-19 shows us that we are disposable in the name of profit: rather than invest resources into creating housing, the government would rather see us die.
We invite all poor Indigenous and working class people to join us in defending low-income housing, ending all evictions, and abolishing the twin systems of supportive housing and the police. From tent cities to shelters to supportive housing to prisons to the private rental market, we are rising up to say no more! If you have ever wanted to evict your landlord, your jail guard, or the NGO worker who’s paid to treat you like a child, then the TD Takeover is for you.