With Olympics Come New Laws to Sweep up Homeless

In an article for October 14th edition of The Tyee, Katie Hyslop describes how four recent Olympic host cities passed laws that criminalize homelessness and links this shameful portion of Olympic history to the Assisting to Shelter Act under consideration by the British Columbia legislature.

Here’s a sampling from past Olympics:

  • 1988 Winter Games, Seoul: 48,000 buildings housing 720,000 people were destroyed between 1982 and 1988 for the purpose of building highrise apartments and commercial buildings;
  • 1996 Summer Games, Atlanta: City officials in Atlanta used a combination of new and old legislation to criminalize homelessness in the city. From 1995 to 1996, over 9,000 homeless people, predominantly African-American men, were arrested for crimes such as sleeping in a park or on the street;
  • 2000 Summer Games, Sydney: The Homebush Bay Operations Act and Regulation passed in 1999 to cover Homebush Bay, the site of the Olympic Village and Park. Police and other officials were given the power to remove people from the area for vague reasons such as causing “annoyance or inconvenience” or using indecent language;
  • 2004 Summer Games, Athens: Law 2730/1999 concerning the planning, development and construction of Olympic works gave the government the power to expropriate land for Olympic use. Anyone living on this land was supposed to be given 24-hour notice to vacate, or face eviction. Houses or businesses on expropriated land were given up to 10 days to vacate the area.

The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver has produced The Assisting To Shelter Act, which would allow “governments to clear the streets of the poor, homeless and addicted just in time for the tourists and cameras to arrive. The act would give Vancouver police the power to force a person to seek shelter when an extreme weather alert is issued. If there is no room at city shelters, people will be put in a jail cell.”

Of course, the BC government says they’re just concerned about the well-being of people who live on the street. You can read more about the proposed BC law here.

The 2010 Olympic games have prompted a series of laws aimed at undermining the civil liberties in the name of corporate profits and convenience, including bylaws that outlaw signage critical of the Olympics.

Check out the 2010 resistance groups at no2010.com and riot2010.com


  1. If you or your readers would like a web with a view we have it covered

    Last year in early November I was walking around the downtown eastside as part of normal routine, and couldn’t help but notice the poverty and hopelessness that seem to be rampant on every corner of this the poorest part of our lovely city. I myself have suffered in the past from addiction and temporary homeless conditions. After a few days of feeling inspired I decided to carry a camera with me and started to document what I saw for the next two week’s I gathered together a archive of photo’s and with the help of a friend we produced a video which we aptly named THE OLYMPICS’ TOOK MY HOME This video is currently hosted on over fifty websites throughout the world. I also started a WEBSITE called 2010homelesschampions.ca ” WHO NEW” Today I’m so looking forward to the coming event’s surrounding the Olympics’ and the plight of this neighborhood Here is the link to this video


    Vancouver Hosts the 2010 Addiction Olympics

    This website is dedicated to telling the stories of the unfortunate individuals living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver in the hope that awareness of this problem will spur people to get involved, to let all levels of government know that something has to be done to alleviate this misery rooted in addiction, homelessness and depravity. To point the way to recovery from addiction, which we believe is the root of most of this situation. With the 2010 Olympics coming to Vancouver it is our mandate to record the transition and the extreme changes that are even now occurring and will continue to unfold in the Downtown Eastside.



  2. Modernity is a process of relentless dispossession. People are deprived of their labor, property, power, liberties, dignity, and individuality.

    What more can be take from people who have already been deprived of everything?

    The government will find more.

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