A Permanent Homeless Shelter = Permanent solution?

21 05 2009

I contacted local politicians to get an update about their thoughts, and the current status of the homelessness initiatives in the Tri Cities. Here’s what I have found out so far:

  • Dennis Marsden, from the BC Liberals, writes that “The Tri Cities Cold Weather mat program is a valuable tool to assist at extreme times and I am supportive of this type of program as a part of a strategy to a longer term plan including transitional shelters and ultimately a more permanent solution.”
  • Diane Thorne, my local NDP representative, informed me that currently the City of Coquitlam has donated a site for a permanent shelter in the Tri Cities, but actions still need to be taken to ensure that provincial funding can help get the facility up and running. Diane wrote that she has spoken in the legislature about getting funding for the shelter, as well as other solutions to housing issues in B.C.
    • She wrote, “Homelessness would also be reduced if services such as supportive housing for the mentally ill on the Riverview site were expanded instead of selling off the property to a private developer for condo towers, as suggested by Housing Minister Coleman.”
    • Diane supports affordable housing, stating that, “There are a number of affordable housing alternatives available — all that is needed is the political will to support and expand these options.”

It seems that both politicians support working towards a permanent shelter. But is a permanent shelter the solution to the homelessness problem? What do you think? If so, how long do you think it will take to get funding for such a shelter?