As cameras, press and tourists invade the city for the Olympics, Pivot Legal Society, a local advocacy group, has been distributing bright red tents to the city's homeless in an effort to highlight the problem.
"Presently, the campaign has some 500 tents; about 25 have already been pitched in a tent-city on Hastings Street, five blocks from the Olympic Village. (Tents can be sponsored for $100 apiece; $10,000 in private donations has already been raised.) Am Johal, spokesperson for the campaign, adds that others have been set up nearby to where crowds lined up to greet members of the Colbert Report, which taped at Science World (the show is a sponsor of the U.S. speed-skating team). Earlier this week, with the permission of local authorities and the police, campaigners hung a 45-foot banner declaring HOMES FOR ALL from the city's Cambie Street Bridge. The group has also planned a campout for tonight, Friday, says John Richardson, executive director of Pivot Legal Society. City officials have designated the location, about a block from the Olympic Village, an area where protesters can assemble without fear of arrest. Another demonstration is planned Saturday, which will wind up at the heart of downtown."