This week Mayor Gregor Robertson delivered the keynote address at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Ottawa, emphasizing homelessness as a national challenge and stressing the need for bold action, clear goals, and innovative partnerships to make a difference:
Mayor Gregor Robertson launched Homelessness Action Week today, running from October 13-19 in Vancouver, with an official proclamation to members of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society.
Susan Tatoosh and Harold Michell from the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society received the proclamation from the Mayor in a ceremony at City Hall. The Society operates a low-barrier homeless shelter that serves a predominantly aboriginal population at 201 Central, and has focused on meeting the needs of aboriginal people making the transition to the urban Vancouver community for over 50 years.
“Vancouver has made important progress in our work to end street homelessness, and Homelessness Action Week is an opportunity to engage all of the community in meeting that crucial goal,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society is an excellent example of one of the many organizations doing great work in our community. I encourage all residents to get involved in one of the many Homelessness Action Week events taking place across Vancouver.”
Preliminary numbers from the City of Vancouver’s homeless count show that the number of people sleeping outside at night is declining.
This year’s count, which took place over a 24 hour period on March 13, 2013 found 273 people sleeping outside in Vancouver, which is:
“The drop in people sleeping outside in Vancouver shows that we’re on the right path when it comes to ending street homelessness by 2015,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Our efforts are working, but there is no question there is more work to do. This is within our grasp.
Help spread the word: The recent report card on the City’s Housing and Homelessness strategy shows Vancouver is currently exceeding all of its short-term targets for protecting and expanding affordable rental housing, building new supportive housing, and ending street homelessness.
Once complete, the building at 2465 Fraser St. will offer 69 apartments for adults who are homeless and at risk of homelessness and 30 apartments for youth that will be operated by the Vancouver Native Housing Society. It will also include a new youth resource centre run by Pacific Community Resources Society who, together with partner agencies, will provide support services for both resident youth as well as at-risk youth in the surrounding neighbourhood. This new youth centre will replace the Broadway Youth Resource Centre, which has served the community for the past 14 years.
“There is a crucial need for new supportive housing in Vancouver, and this project is a strong example of the kind of partnerships we need to solve homelessness,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “ The 99 new supportive housing units at 2465 Fraser St. will provide a safe place to live and access to life-changing services for Vancouver’s most vulnerable residents, especially homeless and at-risk youth.”
Vancouver City Council passed the 2012 City Operating Budget tonight at a Special Council Meeting, investing in affordable housing, parks and recreation services, and libraries, as part of a forward-looking fiscal plan for the coming year.
“Even in the midst of a challenging economic climate and a $52 million budget gap, we’ve delivered a budget that is balanced, progressive, and pragmatic,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This budget fully protects and supports programs that impact Vancouver’s most vulnerable, including priority investments for homelessness and affordable housing, child care and seniors. We’re protecting all funding and support for arts and culture programming, continuing our support for Vancouver’s Greenest City goals, and increasing support for Vancouver’s public libraries and parks and recreation services.”