Vancouver’s new COPE-Vision city council is making homelessness a top
priority. Mayor Gregor Robertson announced a 13-member Homeless
Emergency Action Team (HEAT) to find shelter for thousands of people
living on Vancouver streets.
HEAT includes Police Chief Jim Chu, BC Housing’s Shayne Ramsay, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Patricia Daly and senior city staff.
Meanwhile, housing activists are urging the province to reopen more
than 200 suites of social housing at Little Mountain. Redevelopment of
the 15-acre site was a major issue in November’s civic election when BC
Housing started to board over windows and doors, even with people still
living in adjacent units. BC Housing Minister Rich Coleman is pushing a
deal with Holbern Developments to demolish the existing homes as part
of a 2,000-condominium project. Critics, however, say the deal is dead
as Holbern is mired in financial troubles.
COPE Cllr Ellen Woodsworth wants to re-open all of the empty but habitable units at Little Mountain.
"We’ve got a serious housing crisis in Vancouver, as well as a
homelessness crisis, so why leave perfectly good units empty for at
least two years, or possibly longer, when we could use them to house
people?" said Woodsworth.
The City and Province have been discussing a variety of housing issues, including the future of Little Mountain.