Housing minister picks photo-ops over facts

Posted in: ,

DTES_aerialVANCOUVER – Rich Coleman, B.C. Liberal minister responsible for housing, re-announced the re-opening of a Vancouver housing project today, but he still doesn’t want to know how many British Columbians are suffering without a home.

“We know homelessness is rising rapidly in Vancouver because the city and the region go out and count heads,” said David Eby, New Democrat spokesperson for housing. “But does the minister know how many people sleep outside in Prince George, or in Kamloops, or even in his own riding? He could find out, but he chooses not to.”

The last province-wide count of homeless people was in 2007, and that was organized informally by David Chudnovsky, a New Democrat MLA. It found more than 10,000 people across B.C. had no housing, and the numbers were surprisingly high in suburban communities.

“The minister’s Vancouver photo-ops are camouflage for his willful ignorance of the problems faced by communities elsewhere in B.C.,” Eby said. “Why won’t he take a basic first step and get the facts?”