Residents of a new tent city in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside say they’re not going anywhere, in spite of an eviction notice from the city.

Some 20 people occupying the vacant lot at 950 Main Street are calling for B.C. party leaders to make homelessness a key issue in the upcoming provincial election.

“Provincial candidates have been talking about housing, but they’ve been talking about it in terms of middle class people,” said DJ Larkin, a lawyer with the Pivot Legal Society. “They need to talk about homelessness. It is a death sentence.”

The contentious plot of land is being dubbed the "Ten Year Tent City" because it was the site of a homeless encampment a decade ago.

“The lot is still empty,” said Maria Wallstam of the Alliance Against Displacement. “Since then, homelessness has doubled, but also what we’re seeing is more people dying on the streets.”

The residents are expanding their reach by cutting a chain-link fence and clearing brush in an adjacent lot which is also owned by the city.

Officials said the city plans to build up to 30 social housing units on the plot of land.

But groups such as Pivot, Alliance Against Displacement and others supporting the new camp say there isn't nearly enough social housing, and the units that do exist are out of reach.

“The city is not like any other land owner,” Larking said. “They have obligations to respect the constitutional rights of homeless people in their city.”

The alliance wants to see the province commit to creating 10,000 social housing units that are affordable for people on welfare and social assistance.

"These tent cities are spaces of survival for those thousands of people who don't have access to housing or even basic shelter in the City of Vancouver," Wallstam said.

The city is also promising to secure accommodations for those living on the contentious plot of land, but some residents say transitional housing is not a permanent solution.

“My boyfriend can’t come with me and I want him to be there for my baby,” said Sarah, a tent city resident who is six months pregnant.

The camp comes just five months after city staff dismantled another tent city in the neighbourhood at 58 West Hastings Street.

In 2014, City of Vancouver staff and police enforced a B.C. Supreme Court order to tear down a large encampment at Vancouver's Oppenheimer Park. That site, started as a protest against shelter conditions and housing affordability, housed more than 100 people.

Richard Bonner, one of the residents of the original tent city, said homelessness is a huge barrier to finding work and being productive, because people are just struggling to survive day to day.

"It's awfully hard to be productive when you've got to get out of a shelter bed to get ready to go to work, or you've got to line up at three in the afternoon for your nightly meal," Bonner.

More than 3,600 people were counted as homeless in this year's homelessness housing count, which represents a 30 per cent jump since 2014.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Sarah MacDonald