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Coleman becomes homelessness czar — not just for Downtown Eastside

March 3rd, 2009 · 8 Comments

The rumbling started this morning about the announcement that Housing Minister Rich Coleman was going to become the Downtown Eastside czar. As it turns out, it’s a little more than that. He’s actually being put in charge of figuring out what all is going on with homelessness, mental health and addiction in five different communities, as you can read on the government news release here.

I just had a talk with the minister who said he knows that this is going to be a challenge, because of organizations will want to protect their turf, but his new position will give him the mandate to collect the information from everyone involved with those social issues and figure out who is actually producing results.

(From what he said, I gather his team will even be able to see what different services individual people are using.)

This all follows, of course, on the call from Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu for some kind of integrated accounting system, which echoes what many others have asked for over the years. But what Chief Chu wants, he seems to get.

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  • Finally the government is doing what it is suppose to do. If I had a choice between the government and a non-transparent non-profit looking after the poor I would chose the government. Accepting help from the government is not charity, it is a right.

  • independent mind

    The election must be close. The Provincial Liberals have been at a loss to do something effective for the homeless population around the province over the last eight years.

    They have spent a huge amount of money on SRO hotels which already had people living in them. While that gives the new residents some security there were very few units added for the homeless.

    Now we are to accept that Coleman will crack heads and get some results 60 days before an election. I don’t expect anything to happen except a lot of noise about how others (community organizations and civic governments) preventing real solutions.

    I remember a similar scenario before the last election when the Liberals were going to eradicate global warming.

  • LP

    This has been needed for awhile, and although some will think this is just an election ploy, keep in mind that many of these groups are opposed to this approach. Including mayor Gregor.

    Now is his reasoning political as well, or does he have a better solution that he’s keeping in his sweater, only to be sprung in concert with the NDP’s election campaign?

    I’d take bets on that one….any takers?

  • Gorewell

    As the misery of poor people increased, so did the cacophony of private interests competing for government contracts, foundation grants, donations by individuals and corporations, and tax advantages for the donations to “correct” their version of the problem. The only people who did not cash in, the only ones absent from the debate in any public way, as ever, were poor.

  • Colleen

    He is the fonder of homelessness as his ministery readily puts people to the streets by either being a client who reveives token amounts for rents, been a client cut off, or turned away. But it just dosen’t add up as the Homeless all eventaly end up on the Ministries of House and Income Assistances Door Step. And the Creator is the Fixer Hardly. I think I’m ready to give out another Dull AS Dirt Ticket because How Stupid Can A People Be? So how stupid can a people be Mr. Coleman?

  • Colleen

    I forgot others motives such as Federal Cash which he wishes to manage also. Yikes I say as he has spent over a Billion I hear and there is a run down hotel or two that has been revamped some what oh and loads of advertisments, for a strapped Ministry and a major homeless crisis. I don’t think it would be a very good IDEA if the FEDERAL Government handed over the Cash to Coldman to do with as he wishes as know how that all worked out, and so do the police.

  • Darcy McGee

    I’m calling for an end to the use of the word “Czar” in a political context. It’s being overused without a clear definition.

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