Statement from Carole James and Shane Simpson on Homelessness Action Week

VANCOUVER—New Democrat Leader Carole James and Housing and Social Development critic Shane Simpson released the following statement on Homelessness Action Week: Carole James

“As part of Homelessness Action Week, local governments and non-profit organizations across the province are hard at work devising strategies to protect people who are homeless. They realize the gravity of the situation in their communities and they have done their share of work.

“Rather than using this opportunity to support the work being done locally, B.C.’s Housing Minister Rich Coleman has failed to provide these organizations with the certainty they need to put their plans into meaningful action. Shane Simpson

“Vancouver, for example, is still waiting for critical provincial dollars to help pay for emergency winter shelters to help house hundreds of people. Minister Coleman’s inability to clearly state what provincial support they will have is inept at best.

“The B.C. Liberal government has had months to prepare for one of the harshest winter conditions being predicted for B.C. But this failure to be clear and proactive is becoming a barrier to local efforts and it’s putting thousands of people at risk.

“That’s why we’re calling on Minister Coleman today to stop dragging his feet, join the other partners at the table and start addressing one of the most pressing challenges at this time of the year.

“And the B.C. Liberal government must realize that a short-term strategy has to be part of a long-term effort to address the growing tide of homelessness. It cannot be one or the other.

“What B.C. desperately needs is immediate action on a cold weather plan and a solid commitment to reverse the long term homelessness trend.

“It’s time for Minister Coleman and the B.C. Liberal government to articulate a solid commitment. The time to act is now.”