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City to put $300,000 from contingency fund into homeless effort

December 12th, 2008 · No Comments

I see from this story by my Vancouver Sun counterpart Catherine Rolfsen that NPA Councillor Suzanne Anton is objecting to the city (or, to be more precise, Vision Vancouver) putting $300,000 from its contingency reserve into funding shelters, which it hasn’t typically done in the past.

She’s right on that. However, the city has been pouring money in recent years into social housing, an area that it also used to say was the provincial government’s responsibility.

Most people don’t realize it, but the city has shelled out enormous amounts of money for social housing in the past couple of years. It used to lease its land to the provincial government for social housing projects. It’s now giving it outright and also throwing in, at least in the case of the downtown hotels that the province bought, millions in renovation money. I believe the NPA council was, until recently, boasting about the $178 million or so it put into social housing.

The city also recently gave $500,000 to the fledgling Streetohome Foundation, which is trying to find ways to channel private donations into housing projects.

Yes, $300,000 is a lot of money. But the city started down this path quite a while ago, as it, like many other cities, realized that it could sit on its hands and say homelessness was a provincial/federal problem or it could do something.

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