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Vancouver business elite discovers how messy solving homelessness is

March 8th, 2010 · 14 Comments

For years, I’ve heard that business leaders in the city are itching to give millions to solve homelessness and, related to that, the problems of the Downtown Eastside. And many have tried to tap into that.

Former mayor Philip Owen and others started a fund through the Vancouver Foundation to try to encourage donations for the Downtown Eastside. Various housing groups have charitable arms to encourage donations. And especially during the Sam Sullivan administration at city hall, I heard a lot about how there were businesses waiting in the wings to give to the right project.

The Streetohome Foundation, brought to life through former city manager Judy Rogers and former former city manager Ken Dobell, was supposed to funnel all of that goodwill. It may yet do it, but it has had a rocky start the foundation’s business leaders grapple with the complexity and politics around homelessness. I explored the whole issue in my latest Vancouver magazine column here.

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