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Homeless shelters make a dramatic change to downtown

February 19th, 2009 · 4 Comments

It’s hard to get a read on Vancouver’s homeless situation through either direct observation or statistics. Few of us monitor the streets at night to do a count and what we see in the daytime can often be deceiving. Lots of people who have homes are still out on the streets during the day. Even the city seemed to be stymied by how to get a measure of homelessness and panhandling numbers during its Project Civil City efforts.

One group does try to keep a tab on what’s going on and that’s the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. And its numbers show a dramatic fall in the number of people on the streets and even in how much panhandling is going on. As the association’s ED Charles Gauthier notes, when people are getting a place to sleep along with dinner and breakfast, they might still need to panhandle but not as much. You can read my full story in the Globe on this here.

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  • Jeannette M

    Yes. It is initiatives like these shelters and NOT the Downtown Ambassadors that are decreasing panhandling and street sleeping.

  • Jeannette M,

    I agree with your statement, but the Ambassadors are also making the homeless aware of the shelters and are also making calls to the shelters to see if space is available. If there is a vacancy, then a taxi cab can be dispatched to take the person to the shelter, if required.

    Let’s all hope that the shelters can be funded year round and that more supportive housing can be made available to those who need and want it.

  • I remember asking/begging the business associations especially the DTVBIAtwo years ago to support the initiative to Make Storyeum a Minimalist Shelter. None of them had any vision or compassion for the street homeless then. All of them ignored my pleas and now with these minimalist shelters street problems have dramactically decreased. I still go ballistic when I think about this simple solution to alleviate some of the incrediable hardship that the street homeless face each day. The Strathcona BIA told me that street homelessness was not their problem: their mandate is the businesses in the area. Others non-profits and organizations in the DTES told me we have to wait for real housing. This is about as stupid as what the police are doing: ticketing the marginalized to decrease drug trafficing (Jim Chui) as the paperwork to write a drug offence is too onerous vs a simple ticket. Even now with the looming March 31st deadline approaching there is no talk from the churches or the non-profit in the DTES to demand that these minimalist shelters continue. On March 31st 2009 I estimate there will be 900 street homeless evicted from these shelters and from their sister shelters .

  • Frank

    I was working my job today for the Ministry which takes me to welfare offices and I over heard a client say that I am being paid with there money. He said it with that socialist everyone owes me a living mentality. I had all I could do to hold my tongue, I wanted to tell him my taxes contribute to his pay check he didnt earn so he can sit on his dead ass.
    I am so tired of hearing about the poor homeless. They steal shopping carts worth hundreds of dollars driving up the prices at local markets where I buy my families food. I watch as police drive & walk by the homeless pushing stolen property and do nothing about it. I wonder how long Id get away with taking home a shopping cart each visit to the market
    They dont work, they contribute nothing to society and are just a waste of natural resources. They litter streets with dirty needles, leave filth in our parks and on our streets.
    Id like to see work programs where everyone that draws a check has to report and work for that money. They could work in urban farms where food could be grown to supply shelters. They could clean roadsides of litter, the sidewalks, there are so many things of a constructive nature they could do. Instead of a hand out that will never end their self entitlement they believe they are owed. If they dont want to work they should get nothing, not a damn dime. When they break the law they belong in jail. I think they should be harrassed and driven underground the way it use to be. We need to concentrate on worthy people, that ad to a possitive way of life.
    Prisions should institute the same type work plan, growing there own food, maintenance, whatever it takes so no person is sitting around just taking from society. Maybe all those bleeding heart liberals out there should take one or two homeless back to their place and give them a spot on the couch in front of the TV with the family if they are so concerned.