What are your thoughts about homelessness?

Homelessness is a prevalent issue in Vancouver, in particular the downtown area. How would you balance property protection for existing business and private property owners vs the needs of people in transition? What services do you feel the City of Vancouver can enhance for people in transition? What is your view on Housing First approaches, such as Lincoln Place?

A:

We want our city to offer a good quality of life to our citizens at all income levels.  That means economic opportunities, safe streets and neighborhoods, and social services to those in need.  Failing to prioritize effective social services undermines our other priorities, and it falls short of our highest social ideals.

We know that addiction and mental health issues are often at the root of homelessness.  As a Board member of Daybreak Youth Services and Columbia River Mental Health Foundation, and as a supporter of Share House, I am committed to understanding the causes and advocating for the best responses to these challenges.

More specifically, I am a proponent of using evidenced based methods to support our homeless population.  Housing First has tremendous evidence supporting its effectiveness. We need to re-evaluate our social service co-location ordinance.  Is it adequately meeting the needs of struggling individuals and families?  And, we need to support distributed services, where all services are offered in multiple locations.

Addressing the question of private and public property protection, of course we must maintain attractive and welcoming spaces.  Share House is having an impact by involving our homeless population in clean up efforts around the Hough Wall and Esther Short Park.  I’d like to see more of this and other efforts to reinforce that we can all share in the responsibility of maintaining our community for the benefit of all.  

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