VANCOUVER– Despite promises to protect the homeless in this province, the B.C. Liberals have only provided a band-aid solution. Hundreds of vulnerable people will be forced back out onto the streets on April 30 when the current funding for temporary winter shelters ends, say New Democrats.
Last fall housing minister Rich Coleman agreed to fund four Temporary Winter Response Shelters. These shelters would house the hundreds of homeless living in Vancouver and protect them from extreme weather conditions.
“When Minister Coleman announced funding for these temporary shelters, he was quick to point out that 2011 would see hundreds of new supportive housing units for the homeless making use of them, said Shane Simpson, New Democrat critic for housing. “There’s just one problem – the spaces won’t be ready until the end of the year. At the end of April these vulnerable members of our community will be pushed back into a life of extreme poverty on the street.
“There is no place for these people to go,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, where one of the temporary shelters set to close is located. “Once again our city’s most vulnerable people will be forced out on the street to sleep in doorway and in parks. We are urging Premier Christy Clark to show she cares for all families in British Columbia, and that includes the province’s homeless.”
“We need a real plan to address the growing issue of homelessness in this province,” said Simpson. “Premier Christy Clark needs to make real investments into affordable housing and create a poverty reduction plan, with achievable goals and targets to ensure that the people of this province are protected.”
“We’re calling on the new premier to make a commitment that no one will be forced out of these shelters at the end of this month by bringing forward real solutions quickly,” said Simpson.
The B.C. New Democrats are committed to strengthening B.C.’s families, offering real change British Columbians can trust, with compassionate, fair and pragmatic solutions to address B.C.’s social, economic and environmental challenges.