Nov 16 2008

CityView: Vancouver’s New Mayor’s First Priority – Homelessness

Published by at 3:39 pm under Uncategorized

Gregor Robertson’s election in Vancouver has a faint parallel with Obama’s election in the USA, in that the new boss has some huge problems to fix, and a fairly strong mandate for change in terms of voting percentage (despite the poor voter turnout overall).

Robertson has stated his first priority is homelessness, as it should be, but the way he is tackling it should raise some eyebrows. In his own words:

“Job number one is calling together an emergency task force on homelessness and working on solutions to getting people off the street into a safe place to live as quickly as possible.” (Vancouver Sun)

Emergency task force? The homelessness issue has already been studied to death by the outgoing mayor and council. There is already a plan — actually, it’s called the Vancouver Homeless Action Plan (naturally). We don’t need more planning sessions to come up with ideas: We need implementation.

How about this? The cops escort social workers and medical health professionals into the downtown eastside and other affected areas of Vancouver, conducting a census of the mentally ill and the hopelessly addicted. Empower these teams to take these people off the streets for a more thorough mental health evaluation. Those found to be suffering from mental disorders making them useful only for the predators and criminals stalking their neighborhood are hospitalized and given therapy and a roof over their head. These people are to be released back into society only when they can demonstrate the ability to function without posing a threat to themselves or others.

That would be a start. Until the criminal justice system in this country allows local judges to harshly sentence the predators in our city that prey on the defenseless, that may be all we can hope for in the short term. But it would be a start.

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “CityView: Vancouver’s New Mayor’s First Priority – Homelessness”

  1. Guess what . . .on 17 Nov 2008 at 10:54 am

    “Empower these teams to take these people off the streets for a more thorough mental health evaluation.”

    Have you read the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms ?

    The unintended consequences of Mr. Trudeau’s brilliant Liberalism is that you can’t “just take people of the streets”. They have every right to be there and to refuse any and all interventions in their lives – well intentioned or not.

    Very sad, but very true.

  2. nancy (aka money coach)on 17 Nov 2008 at 12:08 pm

    AGREED!

  3. bzon 17 Nov 2008 at 12:15 pm

    So Gregor is PROMISING to end homelessness by 2014? Can he also make it rain chocolate cakes?

    Obama has the calm, stern look of a man who is ready for business. The way Gregor conducted his campaign and partied on election night, he is a big dreamer who is waaaay over head.

    The twitterjacking, the name calling, the transit fine, the pettiness displayed by Gregor during the campaign, and his incredulous “Oh Shit, Now What?” look on the front page of Sunday’s paper should have everyone in the city worried.

    To turn a phrase. “I know Obama, Gregor. You, are no Barack Obama.”

  4. jnarveyon 17 Nov 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Re: Guess What: Yeah, I’ve read the Charter. But like anywhere else in the West, we have the ability to interpret and even amend the Charter when necessary to obtain a desired result, going to court if necessary to ensure that interpretation is valid. I believe that taking mentally ill people off the streets and giving them health care and other support does not violate the rights of said people. I’ve been wrong before, but it seems the Charter is a red herring in this case.

  5. Raulon 17 Nov 2008 at 11:52 pm

    I can’t help but agree with many of the points that Buzz is making (surprisingly, as I do like Gregor Robertson). There were SO many things that Gregor did WRONG. I am just hoping he’ll do them right next time!

  6. Ruth Seeleyon 22 Nov 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I think I’d start by getting all those social workers, police officers, and medical health professionals to read Gabor Mate’s In the Realm Hungry Ghosts.

    Then I’d get Gregor Robertson (whom I also liked when I met him at an Alliance for Arts party a couple of years ago) to dig deep into his civic pockets and start buying up buildings. Because the real solution to homelessness is affordable homes.

    I’d actually like to see the stats on homelessness in Montreal (where housing, particularly rental housing) is still cheap and Vancouver, where nothing relating to housing is.

  7. 2008 Currents Year In Review | Currentson 31 Dec 2008 at 9:54 am

    […] Vancouver’s new mayor Gregor Robertson takes on homelessness, just in time, before the cold weather really hits. I have a Super Cool Weekend in Vancouver. […]

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