Former senator Michael Kirby managed to get $110 million through the Mental Health Commission of Canada to put into studying the best strategies for getting homeless people back into housing and a stabilized life. It’s a project that could potentially point the way to answers for many countries.
Five cities participated in that study, Vancouver among them. As part of the research, 300 people got guaranteed housing (including specialized teams who would negotiate with landlords to make sure they could stay, even if there was some disruptive behaviour) and super-intensive support teams to make sure that their mental and physical health was well taken care, as well as provide coaching in how to get along with other people and even, maybe, how to get work.
That research project is due to end March 31, as I outline in detail here, and no one has heard boo so far about whether the federal government would consider extending it. That has everyone — the people who have been housed as part of the project, most of all — on edge. For Vancouver, it would be a minor disaster, if those 300 people, who were often people who’d been out on the street for years, were to flood into the already over-stretched low-cost housing available or to go back to the streets again.