“Today’s announcement that the Province will continue to fund three HEAT shelters is great news for the people of Vancouver and especially for our most vulnerable citizens. The HEAT shelters have helped people living on the street find stability in their lives, become part of a community, and gain access to health and social services. It’s crucial that they remain open as we build new social housing in partnership with the Province.
“There is no doubt that the shelters have made a huge difference in Vancouver. We’ve had an almost 50% reduction in street homelessness since 2008. The VPD and DVBIA have seen open drug use and aggressive panhandling decline in the downtown core since the shelters opened. It’s clear that our strategy of moving people from the streets into shelters, and from shelters into interim and permanent housing, is working. We want to end street homelessness by 2015 and these shelters are helping us move closer to that goal.
“I want to personally thank Minister Rich Coleman for his leadership on homelessness in Vancouver and across the Province. His ability to secure $8 million in new funding during difficult economic times reflects his strong desire and dedication to helping people who are living on the streets put their lives back together.
“I’d also like to thank the Minister and BC Housing for their commitment to offer housing and shelter options to all of the homeless residents from the four temporary shelters we opened this past winter. Our staff will be working closely with BC Housing to ensure that this transition takes place as smoothly as possible, in advance of their closure on April 30th.
“The City’s housing partnerships with the Province and Minister Coleman are delivering positive results for the people of Vancouver. With an estimated homeless population of 1762 in Vancouver, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re making progress. We will continue to work closely with the Province and build on our partnerships to develop more interim housing solutions until new housing is built.”
Photo credit: City of Vancouver