Homelessness is one of those issues that gets a lot of attention, but seems too big to fix.
Last month, during Homeless Action Week, I went to a documentary night where Judy Graves and a street nurse answered questions after the films. What surprised me was how both of them were adamant that things have gotten better in the past 3 years. Still bad, but not desperate as things were 3 years ago when both documentaries were filmed in Vancouver.
What’s changed? Vancouver has opened HEAT shelters to ensure no one has to sleep on the streets in the winter. And there are 1500 new low-income units being built in Vancouver from a partnership with the province started under NPA mayor Sam Sullivan and continued by Gregor Robertson.
The number of homeless people in Vancouver has stabilized, but the biggest change has been in the number of shelter spots available. You can read more about the numbers on Frances Bula’s blog.
Vision Vancouver is promising to end street homelessness by 2015. I think that’s an ambitious and near-impossible task, especially without more help from the province and federal governments, but our current city council cares and will do as much as possible to help, and hopefully things will continue to improve.
Photo by quinet
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