Friday, October 20, 2006



Kudos to the NPA majority on Vancouver City council, who voted last night and wisely held to the belief that maintaining uninhabitable, dangerous, unsafe and unhealthy SRO accommodation isn't the answer to rising chronic homelessness in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Even with the media's at times, scathing attacks and a strong lobby effort led by the misguided legal advocacy group, Pivot, to maintain crumbling SRO's, nevertheless, Councillors Suzanne Anton, Elizabeth Ball, Kim Capri, Peter Ladner and B.C. Lee had the guts to demonstrate real courage and leadership when it mattered most.

The NPA must continue to demonstrate this leadership and pave the way for unique, innovative, affordable and sustainable strategies to solving homelessness. Citizens of this city want council working together to eradicate chronic homelessness in our city. And City councillors shouldn't wait until 2010 to solve it, they must act now. Chronic homelessness can be drastically reduced within a 12 month timeframe.

Chronic homelessness refers to a revolving door philosophy where many of our neediest citizens do not have the abilities to fully care for themselves. This is a result of deteriorating, disabling conditions, severe mental health impairment and often substance abuse. These citizens, however, can live independently with strong supports in place to ensure that revolving door isn't continually revolving.

Basic comfort homes can be created where our vulnerable citizenry have their basic core needs taken care of. A basic home unit must have a window to the outside world, toilet and sink, along with a bed and dresser and small clothes closet. Poop stations on the street should never be considered as replacement for an actual home toilet as certain groups have been advocating.

Hopefully, Mayor Sam Sullivan will shake off what many, in our city consider so far to be a luckluster Mayoral performance around these complex social issues. We all know Mayor Sullivan has determination, charm, persuasion and the compassion needed to ensure our neediest citizens human rights are honored and upheld. We also know Mayor Sam has the potential to be a great Mayor of the people!

Sam, Housing is a Constitutional Right. Homelessness isn't.

Now we need your rekindled Passion!

Jamie Lee Hamilton