Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


In an unusual call out by David Eby, prominent member of Mayor Robertson's HEAT group which has opened three new shelters, apparently there is a shortage of blankets for the homeless.

Needed explaining is why a shelter with a budget of $500,000.00 for three months can't provide an adequate number of blankets for the homeless using this shelter?

Readers need to be reminded that the HEAT budget allocation works out to $100.00 per day per homeless individual which works out to $2,800.00 per month per individual and yet the shelter hasn't an adequate supply of blankets for the homeless camped out on floor space provided by Gregor's Shelters.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blankets can't be easily reused due to bed bugs, body lice and other infestations. Remember how blankets were used to transmit deadly infections from the invading Europeans to Aboriginal folks during the early days of our country? Well reusing blankets can be a big health hazard. It cost big cash to bring people in from the cold. I know you're unimprressed by anything the HEAT team have accomplished, but they've done much more than anyone before them have done. Sure its just a start, but I'm very impressed by how they've marshalled resources, bureaucrats and systems to make some real difference to folks on the street.

At 1:22 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...


My point still stands. Why with a 3month budget of $500,000 per shelter, why is there a shortage of blankets? Could it ne that the entire budget is being spent entirely on union wages and admin costs?

Comparing Europeans bringing in serious diseases such as smallpox which our Aboriginal citizens had no immunity to and comparing this with bed bug infestation or lice is odd.

I think HEAT could have done way way better. So far, I haven't seen any demand coming from HEAT for treatment facilities. Have you Anonymous?

I suggest without treatment we are just spinning our wheels.

Let's start calling our problem really what it is. It's called Drug addiction. And until we do something about this nothing will change.

I have spoken to many of those accessing the shelters and I've heard repeated over and over again, how these unfortunate souls feel great shame and hate being warehoused in the manner which they are.

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you criticizing this new initiative so fiercely? Clearly it is better than doing nothing. Organizing something like this, so quickly, is a logistical nightmare. How about becoming part of the solution?

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...


Let me say this again. Giving three groups $500,000.00 for three months to open at 7pm until 9am didn't prove to be a logistical nightmare.

The City has a huge inventory of buildings so warehousing 200 people wasn't that difficult.

I believe in creating HOMES for people. Not WAREHOUSING them on floors in run-down buildings without proper heat or sanitation and which also have mold.

Fighting for better humane conditions for people as I do is part of the solution.

Your solution is a band-aid at best and not a solution. Surely our Mayor could have done way better than this.

But I pose this. What will be done after the three months. Can governments keep throwing $1.5 Million every three months to warehouse 200 people?

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no social housing on that we can agree. Robertson cannot magically create 'homes' for the homeless. He is not a magician. However, unlike previous administrations, he is not content to leave people out on the street with nothing in cold and wet weather. Would you prefer people were left on the street until proper homes with beds and blankets were found, built or created. This is a stop gap measure. Unfortunately, these kinds of things end up costing a lot of money.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Hi Amnonymous 10:58am

I don't agree with your Mayor's approach.

But having said this, how is it that First United Church with can $40,000 for three months can provide floor space for 200 plus individuals but Gregor's other three shelters which provide space to the other 200 homeless receive $500,000 each for three months duration. Also noting is that the First United Church only closes for about 4 hours for cleaning.

It seems we could have lobbied other Churches and Faith-based groups to help by opening up their unused space by providing them $40,000 each. With the savings we could put this toward creating real homes for people.

By the way how much would it have taken to open up Little Mountain Housing (which is sitting empty) to house all 400 people who are currently being sheltered? And those units are real accommodations.

I bet with the recent $40,000 that Mayor Robertson just earmarked to bring up to code his latest Warehouse space, this money could have been better utilized to reopen Little Mountain.


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