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Stop SFU from closing low income family and graduate housing! Please help us keeps our kids together.

This petition had 542 supporters

Save Low-income Family Housing on Burnaby Mountain!

On March 7 2015 the tenants in Louis Riel House were given letters from Tracy Innes (the head of the housing office at SFU) stating that all tenants would be forced to move out of the building by August 2015. We are calling for community support to affirm we too, our families and children, are an important part of SFU. It is time to stand together and protect family housing as a vital part of SFU’s community. Consider signing-on to the statement below, getting your organization to endorse, and get ready to come out to stand together and save this vital community.

The Louis Riel House is not only a roof over the heads of graduate students and our families – residents of the Louis Riel House have built an inclusive community that provides our members and their children with not just a sense of belonging, but also a sense of family. As SFU’s only lower-income affordable family housing building, Louis Riel House has drawn many of us to SFU as a welcoming place to pursue our graduate degrees. It is a diverse community space. It is the only housing on campus that is accessible to people with physical disabilities. In this community multiracial international, working-class, lower-income, and Indigenous families don’t get stared at; we feel belonging. Our children experience acceptance and a quality of life that will be destroyed if SFU closes our building. Just one example of how our children benefit from living in low-income housing on the SFU campus is found in the education they receive while their parents pursue their degrees. The University Highlands elementary school and the on-campus daycare provides programming and staff that has been honed specifically to the needs of the children of international grad students.

How to save our community from displacement

1. Stop the secrecy

We deserve a clear statement from SFU family and grad low-income housing on the mountain. What is the condition of the Louis Riel Building? What is the mold danger? Has SFU brought in a truly independent inspector to ensure the health of our children and ourselves is not at risk?

  • So far SFU’s discussions about the future of Louis Riel House have been behind closed doors. The future of low-income family housing at SFU is the business of the community as a whole, and particularly of residents. We want to participate equally with the SFU administration to ensure that our community and our children’s well-being and the well-being of future children of SFU students is not sacrificed for financial profit.

2. Don’t displace low-income families and grad students from SFU today or tomorrow

Whether or not Louis Riel House is safe and suitable housing due to maintenance and mold issues, SFU must continue to guarantee on-mountain low-income family housing.

  • In case LRH will be shut down, current LRH residents should be given appropriate family, graduate disability-accessible housing on the mountain.
  • Any future family and grad student housing must not be privatized and must remain affordable to low-income families and grad students.
  • Do away with the arbitrary four-year limit on occupancy as it is not aligned with family well-being and does not match academic demands of most grad students.
  • This will allow SFU to keep its status as a place that encourages cultural and ethnic diversity and supports Indigenous students as it does today at the family and grad housing residence.

3. Guarantee the place of working-class, lower-income, international, and Indigenous students in SFU’s future

The existence of this community is a message to working-class and lower-income students, women, international, Indigenous students, and students with disabilities that we have a place on our campus. The support given to these students enables them to improve not only their family members’ lives, but to contribute their unique knowledge and skill sets to society as a whole. Without family and grad students housing, SFU will be no match and will no longer be an attractive option for that diverse demographic, particularly for the brightest and most courageous students of tomorrow, who may not come from elite, wealthy family backgrounds. SFU also markets itself as an international community. Many international students come to SFU because of this feeling of community and community support. Shutting down family housing will compromise the integrity of such a statement and will make SFU less attractive to foreign students.

  •  SFU must build low-income affordable family and grad student housing into future SFU infrastructure.
  • This housing should also include building low-income affordable suites for Indigenous students.
  •  SFU must make low-income, culturally and linguistically diverse, and disability-accessible housing and services a policy priority for all of SFU’s future developments. To that end SFU must develop clear policy that guarantees our communities will remain part of SFU long after we current residents have graduated and moved on.

This is a statement of the SFU Low-Income Family and Community Housing Association (SFU-LIFCHA), an organization of current and former residents of Louis Riel family and grad student housing.

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