Peter A Allard School of Law

The Belongings of Precariously Housed People

Centre for the Law and the Environment Assistant

Centre for the Law and the Environment Assistant

Nov 4, 2023

title and speaker list on green background

On November 2, 2023, the Centre for Law and the Environment held a launch event for the report "Possessions of Precariously Housed People".

Unhoused and precariously housed people must continuously navigate various public and private spaces, including sidewalks, parks, shelters, transitional housing, storage facilities, rooming houses, single-room accommodations, and insecure rental housing. Their belongings are vulnerable to the rules set for each of these regulators. This event will launch a new report that compiles and analyses the multiple laws and regulations that govern people and their personal property. It details how these rules result in the seizure and destruction of belongings, almost always without remedies.



About the Panelists

Flynn headshot

Alexandra Flynn

Alexandra Flynn is an Associate Professor at Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. She teaches and works in the area of law and cities, with a focus on housing and homelessness, and Indigenous-municipal legal relationships.

Blomley headshot

Nicholas Blomley

Nicholas Blomley is Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University. He has a long standing interest in questions relating to property, space and power, particularly in relation to the oppression of marginalised people.

headshot of Margot Young

Margot Young - Moderator

Margot Young is Professor in the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. After studying at the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, and the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Young began her teaching career at the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria. In 2002, she moved to the University of British Columbia.

Professor Young teaches in the areas of constitutional and social justice law. She was the Director of the Social Justice Specialization at the law school and has organized the Law and Society Speakers Series for close to a decade. Professor Young served three terms as Chair of the university-wide Faculty Association Status of Women Committee. She is a research associate with Green College, the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies, and the Centre for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at UBC.

Julia Riddle headshot

Julia Riddle

Julia is a lawyer who specializes in constitutional law, including the rights of Indigenous peoples and Charter rights. They have represented clients defending their right to safe shelter in a number of cases, including in the 2021 attempt of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to evict the CRAB Park community and a challenge to the 2022 Vancouver Fire Chief decision to evict the Hastings Street encampment. They work at Arvay Finlay LLP.

headshot of Fiona York

Fiona York

Fiona has worked in community services and non-profit organizations for over twenty years, and for the past 13 years in the Downtown Eastside. She is the former coordinator of the Carnegie Community Action Project, which focussed on development, gentrification and housing in the DTES, and authored the 2019 and 2020 Hotel Reports about SROs and rents.

For the past five years, she has provided frontline support and advocacy for tent cities in so-called Vancouver and currently volunteers full time for the encampment at CRAB Park. She is employed as a support worker and is a board member of The Dugout, a drop-in centre in the DTES.

Headshot of Drew

Drew Hirschpold

Drew is a 45-year old male that worked in the service industry most of his life. He studied natural sciences in university and found himself going from squatting to homeless to sheltering to tenting to housed during the pandemic. He became a key player during the transition from Strathcona to CRAB Park and the establishment of the tent city, until being given housing at a hotel and then an SRO where he continues to be an activist for better housing conditions and against the street sweeps. 

  • Centre for Law and the Environment
Peter A. Allard School of Law UBC Crest The official logo of the University of British Columbia. Urgent Message An exclamation mark in a speech bubble. Arrow An arrow indicating direction. Caret A month-view page from a calendar. Caret An arrowhead indicating direction. Contact A page from a rolodex. Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Information The letter 'i' in a circle. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. Instagram An arrow exiting a rectangle. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Mail An envelope. Minus A minus sign. Telephone An antique telephone. Play A media play button. Plus A plus symbol indicating more or the ability to add. Rss The logo for the Reddit social media service. Rss A symbol with radiating bars indicating an RSS feed. Search A magnifying glass. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service.