Responses from Burnaby Candidates to the Burnaby Task Force On Homelessness

Responses from Burnaby Candidates to the Burnaby Task Force On Homelessness

Questionnaire

 

Green Party Candidates

 

Green Party Candidate Helen Chang Burnaby- Lougheed

 

has not responded to the Task Force Questionnaire at this time

Green Party Candidate – Bruce Friesen- Burnaby Deer Lake 

1) If elected to the provincial government what will you do to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness?

 

I will work with the Homelessness Task Force to push forward my “twelve step” action plan.  

There are three elements in each action step (1st, 2nd, 3rd, through 12th ) listed below;

1) The key stakeholder that must be encouraged to take the intended action;   

2) A description of the action to be taken; 

3) The hoped-for specific consequences of said action.

 

The objective of the plan is a broad agreement between the City of Burnaby (specifically our Mayor & Council), the BC Government (specifically the Ministries of Health & Housing), the RCMP, Burnabys faith community, and Burnabys Neighbourhood Associations (and the homeowners they represent) that:  

1) A properly supported emergency shelter is a vital public service;

2) That each stakeholder will do its respective part to get this shelter sited in our community as soon as is possible. 

 

Key Stakeholder being addressed: The RCMP 

 

1st Ask the RCMP to recast existing “crime” tracking data to group and cost the police incidents

 involving homeless people. 

Help Burnaby Council understand how much RCMP budget is now spent policing non-criminal homeless persons (an amount that may reach into the millions of dollars annually)illustrating in hard, property-tax-dollar terms, the real cost to Burnaby citizens of not siting a properly-supported emergency shelter for use as an additional community policing tool; 

Help the Burnaby Neighbourhood Associations understand how much more effective their existing RCMP service could be if less of that vital public resource had to be dedicated to the current minimally-effective management of the homeless.

 

2nd  Ask the RCMP (and Burnaby Council) to place a satellite Community Police Office in or near the  proposed emergency shelter. 

Assure Neighbourhood Associations that addressing their security concerns is, in fact, an element in siting a truly effective shelter; 

Help Lookout counter the media-generated symbol of disorder that is Vancouver's “downtown eastside” with the presence of active community security as part of their Burnaby shelter plan.

 

3rd Ask the RCMP to offer to copy the joint patrol plan used so effectively by Progressive Housing and

  Surrey RCMP. 

Reassure the homeless that their plight does not make them criminals by sending out social workers, with officers, to talk to them as needed;

Reassure Neighbourhood Associations that their most vulnerable home bound family members (including small children and frail elders) are being actively secured in their absence by regular officer patrols a central element of a properly-supported full service emergency shelter.

 

 

Key Stakeholder being addressed: The Fraser Health Authority 

  

4th  Ask FHA to recast Burnaby Hospital and Royal Columbian data to group & cost the

 resources now spent serving the homeless.  

Help Neighbourhood Associations/home-owners and MLAs understand (in tax dollar or wait-time terms) how properly sheltering the homeless will reduce their basic draw on local health resources by lessening the number and severity of illnesses now being caused or aggravated by poor living conditions; thereby freeing ER and/or acute care beds for other local area residents;

Help Council understand (in wait time terms that their voters will appreciate) this second cost of not siting an effective shelter here in Burnaby.

 

5th  Ask FHA (& Lookout) to consider co-locating medical staff in the proposed emergency

 shelter. 

Assure Neighbourhood Associations that homeless people truly beyond the help of available shelter resources due to acute mental illness, chronic addiction, or other medical concerns will not be left untreated outside the shelter doors;

Help Lookout and the RCMP counter the media-generated symbol of disorder that is Vancouver's downtown east-side with a tangible symbol of community caring.

 

 

Key Stakeholder being addressed: Lookout Emergency 

 

6th  Speak candidly to Lookout about the institutional conflict between advocacy and

 expertise.   

Help Lookout understand that its full-throated advocacy for homeless shelters in general may be causing Burnaby homeowners to discount its parallel message of expertise in managing shelters that should make its Burnaby shelter problem-free;

Help Lookout understand that homeowners they might call NIMBYs (out of an advocate frustration at their failure to support siting a shelter) are called TAXPAYERS, VOTERS, and NEIGHBOURS by the Burnaby councilors who must approve shelter zoning;

Help Lookout understand that labeling homeowners as NIMBY (thereby implicitly denigrating their fears of a badly-run or poorly-supported shelter) does not help Burnaby councilors hear Lookout case for a properly supported, expertly managed, and therefore problem-free, shelter.

 

7th  Call a community forum for Lookout & Neighbourhood Associations to talk security. 

Lend Lookout some of the RCMP's credibility on security matters so that Lookout can break through the present barrier of homeowner fear and get that message of Lookout's real expertise at managing problem-free shelters heard in the community;

Give homeowners a chance to tell Lookout that they are afraid, not lacking empathy; that this fear is fueled in part by real concerns (of finding would-be shelter clients who cannot be helped by an under-staffed or under-secured shelter loitering in their streets near their homebound loved ones); and, finally, that this home-owner fear must be addressed not denigrated before they will take their political pressure off council;

Help Lookout understand that others will help them meet and disarm neighbourhood fear, if they are willing to acknowledge this need and accept this help (e.g. Fraser Health, RCMP, the faith community, even government MLAs).

 

 

Key Stakeholder being addressed: The Faith Community  

 

8th Speak candidly to congregations about the unintended consequences of their

considerable generosity. 

Help the faith community understand that turning a purpose-built house of worship into a jury-rigged shelter (when the building lacks adequate infrastructure for 24/7 operation or appropriate social workers and medical staff to offer a complete service) can, unfortunately, increase homeowner fear and subsequent pressure on council not to site a permanent shelter by welcoming the homeless into the community only to leave them loitering in local public spaces when the house of worshop must close to host religious services or other community functions.

 

9th Ask congregations about participating in voluntary area security enhancement. 

Help the faith community to understand why their home owning neighbours fear the homeless (when the faithful themselves do NOT) and to understand how community policing tools like volunteer patrol might enable the faith community to help the RCMP psychologically reinforce local security to offset neighbourhood fears (and council concerns) otherwise triggered by the prospect of siting a permanent emergency shelter.

 

10th Help congregations reach past the walls of their own buildings to embrace purpose-built

 housing that can fully meet the needs of the homeless.  

Help the faith community to put its considerable resources behind a permanent shelter by joining forces with Lookout to move a permanent shelter proposal forward (in addition to offering the current temporary shelter and food service);

Integrate Lookout's “professionals” with the faith community's “volunteers” behind one comprehensive shelter plan;

(Use contact information for the Vancouver-based Christ Church Cathedrals 127 Housing Society – for a speaker who can talk at length to the faith community about the practicalities of siting and running supportive housing that operates 24/7.)

 

 

Key Stakeholder being addressed: Government MLAs 

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11th Help Lookout and/or the faith community to bring forward a plan for a fully supported  

shelter to the provincial government. 

Ensure that MLAs understand that actions like BC Housing purchase of the Confederation Park project are only a partial answer to the homelessness problem.  Lookout needs plans for a fully supported shelter to offer Neighbourhood Association/homeowners to counter their fears of such facilities. A fully-supported project might include: (a) sustained funding for social workers in full proportion to demonstrated client needs; (b) provision for onsite & near-site security;  (c) relevant medical staff to assure the neighbours that in-coming clients with needs beyond the immediate resources of the shelter will not be housed there longer-term; and (d) proper maintenance funding.

 

Ensure that MLAs understand that a single shelter even a fully supported shelter is not a comprehensive solution.  A package of housing, complete with assisted living units, seniors housing, addiction/mental health beds, and emergency shelter beds, might be better received by Neighbourhood associations and Burnaby council.  (The additional units beyond the shelter beds will help ensure that the new shelter will not become a plugged intake valve on a regional pipeline of homeless people.)

 

12th Press the provincial government to direct all of Ottawas social housing funding to social

 housing. 

Help other MLAs to understand that social housing money must be spent on social housing.  This may actually be an unnecessary step given recent announcements from Vancouver and Victoria about commitments to the full range of social housing and the declining fortunes of the construction industry soon to be avidly pursuing any work to keep saws and hammers going but every bit of understanding helps. 

 

Carrie McLaren Green Party Candidate – Burnaby-Edmonds

 1) If elected to the provincial government what will you do to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness?

Without a doubt, I would have to make sure that before any changes were made… your group was consulted.  Even well intentioned changes could have unwanted repercussions, which could be reduced or eliminated with consulting. The Burnaby Homeless task force is already doing the work and research that are required to eliminate homelessness. You and your community partners no doubt already have a plan ready to propose.  Let's hear it and make it happen.

2) If elected what resources will you commit to Burnaby to address the growing number of citizens who are dealing with homelessness?

There is no one-size fits all solution.  Homelessness is part of a larger problem, and part of the solution is reducing poverty, supporting harm reduction and treatment, and increasing housing (rental, co-op, social, etc.)  I support replacing the patchwork income support programs into one unified Guaranteed Livable Income, which would remove inefficient bureaucratic processes and streamline access to assistance.  It's not going to fix everything – but it's a start, together with increased funding to create/build/renovate mixed income, co-op and non-profit housing.

3) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of affordable housing in Burnaby for low income people?

Greens would make sure that a provincial housing program would work with the city to build affordable housing, or purchase existing housing that can be moved to permanent rental housing. There are lots of other ideas people have been throwing around… again, consulting with the city and the community partners already working in this area would cost less time and money that could go towards housing and assistance programs.

 

4) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of supported housing in Burnaby?

It's not only buildings that are needed… but the people who have the ability and training to be the support. A combination of more training spaces to train support staff, and more housing for those who require it.  Asking the people in on the ground floor is the first step to finding out what is needed and then finding the resources to make it happen.  I would have to consult with those groups and people to find out more of what is required.

5) What is your party's position on addressing homelessness?

The Green Party would commit 1% of the total provincial annual budget to solving the housing crisis.  Some solutions include better funding for shelters/ transition houses, and implementing a provincial Guaranteed Livable Income.  We want to work with the federal government and other provincial/territorial governments to create a national social housing program. We want to update the Residential Tenancy Act, and reopen the local Residential Tenancy offices that were closed.  We want to mandate BC Hosing to purchase units of market housing within current or stalled projects to provide an expanding pool of permanent below market and market rental housing.

Working with other levels of Government, First Nations, community groups, businesses, and individual citizens, we can solve this.

 

Doug Perry Green Party Candidate – Burnaby North

 

 

1) If elected to the provincial government what will you do to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness?

Everything that I can!

2) If elected what resources will you commit to Burnaby to address the growing number of citizens who are dealing with homelessness?

Whatever resources than can be made available through which ever agencies I can influence to move the funds for that purpose. In our platform, again, we state that ” Greens will introduce a guaranteed livable wage for all people in BC. We will eliminate the training wage and increase minimum wages.” By doing this the situation of people living in poverty will be almost eliminated.

3) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of affordable housing in Burnaby for low income people?

Advocate to re-fund the Co-op housing programs that have had continual cut backs for 2 decades, put forth legislation to require all condo and rental developments to include a percentage of low cost housing units within their projects.

 

4) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of supported housing in Burnaby?

All that I can.

5) What is your party's position on addressing homelessness?

The Green Party of BC, as well as all green parties world wide, see housing as a basic need and recognize the fact that to have a strong economy, and a sustainable society and social structure it is crucial that all people need places to live – housing. We understand that homelessness is a symptom of a failing social structure and a precursor to a drastic change in the fabric of society. We have been ringing the alarm of this pressing issue for several elections and asking desperately that the mainstream population choose a different path for the future generations. As we neglect the basic need of our brothers and sisters by letting them stay out doors, without homes, we deprive ourselves of the security of a functioning social structure. As our society turns it's head and neglects fellow members it begins to destroy the way of life that we all grew up believing defined what our province, and country stand for. As we allow more and more decent people to fail economically to the point that they can not afford to have the basic need of housing fulfilled we increase our need hide our personal affluence; and thus loose our freedom to enjoy life as we have chosen to live. The Green Party, in BC and abroad, has long advocated to end poverty and make homelessness a thing of the past. The direction of our plans IF elected are outlined at ” ttp://www.greenparty.bc.ca/platform/caring “.

 

Liberal Party Candidates

 

Blair Phelps Senior Research Officer responded on behalf of Burnaby Liberal Candidates:

Harry Bloy  Burnaby-Lougheed

Richard T. Lee  Burnaby North

John Nuraney  Burnaby-Deer Lake

Lee Rankin  Burnaby-Edmonds

 

1) If elected to the provincial government what will you do to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness?

The BC Liberal government is ready and willing to bring short-term housing to Burnaby. We have demonstrated our commitment to homelessness and those at risk of homelessness right across British Columbia, creating more than 1,500 permanent, year-round beds in 59 shelters, compared to 850 beds in 2001. We will spend $50 million this year for emergency shelter services – 87% will operate 24/7 and 95% will provide three meals a day.

But the BC Liberal government cannot provide housing solutions in isolation – we need cooperation and commitment from municipal governments like the City of Burnaby. We would encourage Burnaby voters and members of the Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness to call on the City of Burnaby to work with the provincial government to ensure that short-term housing is available for those who need it most.

2) If elected what resources will you commit to Burnaby to address the growing number of citizens who are dealing with homelessness?

The BC Liberal government has committed $4.2 million this year to fund homeless outreach programs in 48 communities across British Columbia so that homeless individuals can be connected to housing and support services. More than 4,600 people have been housed as a result of this outreach work, and approximately 80% of those people remain in stable housing today.

Burnaby's homeless outreach program is operated by the Progressive Housing Society. So far, the outreach program has helped 167 people find housing.

In addition, we have also funded the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addictions to better support those at high risk of homelessness. This centre has 100 beds and is a first in British Columbia.

The BC Liberal government will continue to fund innovative programs to help people who are homeless and those who face barriers such as mental illness and addictions. We will continue working with local organizations that know their communities and want to provide assistance to British Columbians who most need it.

3) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of affordable housing in Burnaby for low income people?

The BC Liberal government is providing record investment in housing to ensure that low income British Columbians have access to affordable housing. We have committed $469 million this year to help more than 85,000 British Columbians with their housing – more than four times what was spent by the NDP on housing in 2000.

In Burnaby, the BC Liberal government will spend nearly $18.5 million this year to provide almost 5,000 housing units for low income British Columbians.

People who are already housed in the marketplace, but whose only barrier is affordability, are also assisted through rent supplements. For example, the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) assists families with at least one child who have an income under $35,000 with help paying the rent each month. Similarly, the Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters (SAFER) program helps low-income seniors with rent supplements so they can continue to choose where they want to live.

In Burnaby, 680 senior households receive funding under SAFER, and 260 families get assistance from RAP. In total, the BC Liberal government spends more than $4 million each year for families and seniors on these programs who live in Burnaby.

 

 

 4) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of supported housing in Burnaby?

The BC Liberal government strongly believes in supportive housing, which integrates support services with housing so people can move beyond temporary shelter to more secure housing, gain greater self-reliance, and achieve appropriate employment. We would be pleased to work with the City of Burnaby, as we have with eight other municipalities, to sign partnership agreements to fast-track approval and construction of new supportive housing units. We encourage the Task Force and Burnaby voters to call on the City to partner with the province and provide city-owned land for supportive housing projects, as the eight other municipalities have done.

5) What is your party's position on addressing homelessness?

The BC Liberal government is working hard to end homelessness, implementing innovative, new ideas, like the homeless outreach program, and purchasing buildings and single room occupancy hotels across the province. These buildings are being saved from re-development, are repaired, and non-profit partners are found to operate them. Support services are added to help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness move to more secure shelter and gain independence and employment. We have the highest housing budget in British Columbia's history – $469 million this year – to achieve our goals and help change people's lives.

 

 

NDP Candidates

Brenton Walters, Policy and Correspondence Coordinator, BC NDP responded on behalf of Burnaby NDP Candidates:

Raj Chouhan  Burnaby Edmonds

Jaynie Clark  Burnaby Lougheed

Kathy Corrigan Burnaby Deer Lake

Mondee Redman  Burnaby North

 

 1) If elected to the provincial government what will you do to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness? 

We will work with Burnaby City Council to find solutions to the problem, including looking at short-term solutions such as overnight shelters and transitional housing. Homelessness isn't just a Vancouver issue, it affects all areas of the Lower Mainland including Burnaby and many of our smaller communities. The NDP will work quickly to immediately reduce the numbers of homeless people on our streets, instead of waiting years for the problem to grow and grow before acting.

The NDP fully support points 5, 6 and 7 of Burnaby's Affordable Housing and Homelessness report, including consideration of the provincial lands at Willingdon/Canada Way as a possible location for a shelter/housing space.

2) If elected what resources will you commit to Burnaby to address the growing number of citizens who are dealing with homelessness?

We will carefully look at how provincial dollars are allocated throughout the Lower Mainland to ensure that all communities have the help they need to deal with the issue. Funds that are already allocated for Burnaby will remain in place.

3) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of affordable housing in Burnaby for low income people?

This is from our platform:

Carole James and the NDP will increase housing availability and affordability by:

  • Encouraging new market rental and co-op housing through the Market Housing Partnership Program in concert with the private, non-profit and cooperative housing sectors.
  • Pushing the federal government to change federal tax laws to encourage the development of market rental housing.
  • Making sure the interests of landlords and tenants are properly balanced by closing the “renovation” loophole that allows landlords to evict tenants and charge unfair rent increases, expanding landlord-tenant mediation and education services and supporting service offices of the Residential Tenancy Branch.
  • Increasing protection for owners of manufactured home by requiring park owners to provide longer eviction notices and increased relocation expenses, and working with manufactured home park owners to retain their parks for the long term.
  • Undertaking a comprehensive review of the Residential Tenancy Act and Residential Tenancy Branch system, and reopening branch offices in under-served regions.
  • Reviewing the Strata Property Act to better meet the needs of strata property owners.

4) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of supported housing in Burnaby?

In our first year we are committing to opening 2,400 social housing units in the province, along with 1,200 for each following year. These units will be focused in the communities where need is strongest, including Burnaby. Building new dedicated supported housing will address the issue in the long-term, while purchasing existing buildings can address the issue immediately. However, challenges exist in the current purchasing procedure in Burnaby that must be overcome if we are to use pre-existing buildings.

5) What is your party's position on addressing homelessness?

This is from our platform:

Reducing homelessness and poverty in BC through housing construction, assistance improvements and a poverty reduction plan.

 

Ending the crisis in homelessness in 5 years: The NDP will set firm targets for social housing, and report progress to the Legislature annually. First year commitments are for 2,400 social housing units, with 1,200 units in each of the next 4 years. During this time, short-term shelters will be supported to offset the housing shortage.

Making life more affordable for the most vulnerable British Columbians by increasing the earnings exemption to $100 per month for individuals and $200 per month for families.

Increasing support payments for people with multiple barriers who are unable to work.

Increasing Income Assistance-to-Work supports, such as allowances for work clothing, bus fares to job interviews, etc.

Developing a poverty reduction plan with targets and timelines that build on our initiatives that will raise the minimum wage, support jobs and skills training, increase affordable housing, improve child protection and change income assistance.

 

Refederation  Party

  

Michial Moore –Cowichan Valley Candidate for B.C. Refederation Party responded to the Task Force questionnaire on behalf of

Jarelle Hepburn  Refederation Candidate Burnaby- Edmonds

“I was asked by the Dennis Shaw President of the B.C. Refederation Party to answer them because I was once Homeless…I was Homeless not that many years ago and understand what is needed.”.

1) If elected to the provincial government what will you do to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness?

We the B.C. Refederation Party will Keep the funding going to help the Transitional House Keep the doors open to all Homeless ..We will help keep it staffed with fully trained workers..

The B.C. Refederation Party will set up a Training Program to Train some of the Homeless to work in Transition House so that they feel there doing work that makes them feel Respectable in the Comunity..

2) If elected what resources will you commit to Burnaby to address the growing number of citizens who are dealing with homelessness?

We the B.C. Refederation Party will make it Affordable for Homeless to regain Rental's..
We will set up Social Housing for Homeless and low income people..Putting up another Shelter is not the answer,instead of Building a Shelter we will Build Low income and homeless Apartments..

3) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of affordable housing in Burnaby for low income people?

We will buy or build Appartments for Low income Housing.. It will be based on your income to what your rent is..It will be a percentage of what your pay is or your welfare Power, water,Heat,and Garbage Pickup will be included.  There will be saftey doors so they feel safe.

4) If elected what will you do to increase the supply of supported housing in Burnaby?

We the B.C. Refederation Party will open more support housing to allow more people to be helped..We will bring in more expert's in the field's that are needed.

5) What is your party's position on addressing homelessness?
The B.C. Refederation will not be scared to help homeless and admit that Homeless in British Columbia is getting worse as our Economy worsen's..We have to begin to help the homeless regain positions in comunities to feel wanted as people once again..

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