Press Release: August 29: Taking Action on the Homelessness Crisis (press release)

The City of Vancouver needs to treat the homelessness crisis as a crisis and take immediate, do-able steps to address this issue. This is why I propose a combination of repairs and upgrades, new construction, and improved coordination of services so that the most vulnerable residents of this city get help keeping a roof over their heads.

The homelessness crisis requires urgent action, including fixing up current standards, building new spaces, and streamlining assistance.

The official 2018 homeless count found that 2180 individuals were homeless, not including persons staying in unsafe conditions, trading sex for shelter, or avoiding homelessness through couch-surfing. Indigenous persons, especially women, were found to be disproportionately represented in the count as well.

My platform is driven by the principle of housing first, and a profound respect for human rights and dignity.

My homelessness strategy contains concrete steps to tackle this crisis, including:

  • Leveraging funds from senior levels of government to provide 2,800 new housing spaces in the first two years, with 1,000 spaces earmarked for women and children at shelter and disability rates.
  • Bring Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) spaces up to health and safety standards, and take firm action to recover costs from non-compliant landlords.
  • Coordinate integrated care services to assist people in maintaining and improving health, maintaining tenancy, and connecting with community resources. This includes harm reduction practices, health care access, improved food access, and access to legal or financial support.
  • Create a climate of support in policing, health care services, and our community spaces for people who live in poverty and are struggling with health care issues.
  • Work in partnership with the non-profit housing and cooperative sector to manage outcomes, instead of taking a prescriptive approach.

My plan is committed to also engaging City services to support those living in precarious conditions to avoid homelessness. I am further committed to including occupants and service users during the space design and service creation processes to better suit their needs.

We cannot move at the current pace any longer. We need to give the homeless crisis the attention it deserves. Vancouver needs a local government that is willing to act quickly.