Thursday, April 28, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


Hi All

I have received a copy of this NDP press release and have posted it below to remind people of the scope of Vancouver's homeless problem. Its nice to see that Jenny Kwan and Tim Stevenson still have some fire in their belly. But they must also shoulder blame for their passive participation as Cabinet Ministers when their party brought in the draconian BC Benefits Act. In fact, this Act contributed to the downward spiral for many of Vancouver's neediest citizens.

Government needs to stop getting caught up in the deficit and debt debate and instead work to eradicate homelessness and poverty.

The NDP in its release claims they are committed to adding another $16 million for affordable housing in 2005 and doubling the funding for Treatment/Detox programs.

Interesting is that the NDP hasn't articulated what the funding amount will be for the treatment programs they are offering.

When Ms Kwan and Mr Stevenson come out swinging, lets hope if given another chance of governing and serving in Cabinet that this time around, they refrain from joining their colleagues in brandishing those unyielding clubs which struck many a low blow for residents living in V6B 5N2

Jamie Lee

For immediate release
April 28, 2005

(Vancouver) -- While Gordon Campbell is inside bragging about BC's economy at $300-a-plate fundraisers, the number of people living outside in the streets of Greater Vancouver has doubled, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant NDP candidate Jenny Kwan said today.

"Gordon Campbell can talk stats all he likes, but his mean-spirited one-sided approach to BC's economy is hurting real people," said Kwan. "Today's report confirms what we've all seen in the growing numbers of people seeking shelter in parkades, in entranceways, under bridges and in alleys: Gordon Campbell's Liberals have presided over a dramatic and disturbing rise in homelessness."

Kwan made the comments in response to the report of the 2005 Homeless Count released earlier today. The report showed that twice as many homeless people were counted in 2005 as in 2002.

"Gordon Campbell and Lorne Mayencourt have worked hard to punish the most vulnerable people in our community," said Vancouver-Burrard NDP candidate Tim Stevenson. "Today we learn that there are twice as many homeless people in our community after just four years of Gordon Campbell government."

"People in my community believe we need to do more to help these people find homes," said Stevenson. "Gordon Campbell has done more to punish the homeless, the poor, and the vulnerable than to help them."

Surrey-Whalley NDP candidate Bruce Ralston said that the report shows that homelessness is not confined to downtown Vancouver. The count shows that the numbers in BC's second largest city more than doubled from 160 in 2002 to 375 this year.

"The rapid rise in homelessness in my community of Surrey is disturbing," said Ralston. "The suburbs have clearly not escaped the impact of Gordon Campbell's mean-spirited policies."

The NDP platform allocates $16 million in 2005 to build new affordable housing for low-income families. The platform also commits to doubling funding for street level prevention and addiction services, an important component of preventing homelessness.

"When fewer people are living on the streets, everyone benefits," said Kwan. "It's not complicated, but we have to start from the idea that everyone matters."

For more information contact Marcella Munro, 604.675.2088 (desk) or 604.313.0717 (cell)