Editorial: Despite setback, Vancouver’s homeless plan is on the right track

Ending street homelessness is one of our city’s most urgent challenges. It’s more than just a slogan or a political “wedge issue” that can be used to fuel partisan bickering. It’s about the real people behind the numbers, vulnerable citizens who need our help. It’s also about building a stronger, safer and more prosperous city where investments in housing today spare us higher costs for health and policing tomorrow.

That’s why I committed to ending street homelessness by 2015, and despite a near perfect storm of recent challenges, I will not back down from that goal.

Take a look at the substantial progress Vancouver has made in a few short years. Our investments in annual funding for winter shelter beds since 2009 have led to almost 500 people moving directly from the street into permanent housing. The purchase of the Ramada Hotels on East Hastings and Kingsway provide much-needed interim housing, bridging the gap until construction of new housing is finished. Investments to upgrade the Biltmore Hotel and Taylor Manor will add both interim and supportive housing.

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