Questionnaire Responses from Candidates Provincial Election 2013

Carrie McLaren Green Party Candidate Burnaby North:

1) What is your party’s position on addressing homelessness?

We can learn from places that are addressing homelessness with Housing First policies. For Housing First policies to work, however, we need homes for people to move into and we need them now.

BC Greens propose that the government purchase or support the purchase of housing by non-profits. During economic downturns, there are unfinished and unsold properties available to turn into long-term rent geared- to-income housing.

To address the issues of housing affordability long term, BC Greens will establish a provincial housing program. We will work with local governments as partners to ensure that an adequate percentage of newly built housing is affordable. We will also advocate for a national housing program.

A basic income supplement through our commitment to a Genuine Livable Income strategy will be instrumental in addressing the housing crisis. If people have adequate income, there will be less need for the government to be in the business of providing houses.

BC Greens know there are some people who will need government support and services to assist them in living to their capability within our communities. Services must accompany housing as part of a holistic program.

2) 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 must confirm with Burnaby city council what sites in the city are available to host an Outreach centre with extended hours, as the current centre is only open once a week for 2 hours. At the same time we need to find a site and make sure that there is funding in place from BC Housing for the opening of transitional housing such as that proposed last year for the 401 Motel.

Overcoming the objections of the city, due to lack of funding, will facilitate the quick opening of short term/transitional housing.

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

The issue involves poverty reduction, job availability, housing affordability and other intertwined challenges. One part of our strategy would be the implementation of a Guaranteed Livable Income to replace all income assistance programs. This will provide basic income and streamline access to assistance, the result is a more efficient system and a better quality of life.

With the non-profits and Homelessness Task Force help, we can prioritize the needs of the community and go from there, though I suspect the first would be a site and funding to open transitional housing and a site to host extended Outreach facility.

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

BC Greens would mandate that BC Housing Corp purchase existing units of market housing that are in current or stalled projects to provide an immediate and expanding pool of permanent below market and market rental housing. We would also provide financial support for small-scale, mixed-income, co-op and non-profit housing.

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

It requires the funds from the provincial /federal level to start with, and working with the city for sites in which supported housing can be either constructed or converted from older building/houses.

Rick McGowan Green Party Candidate Burnaby Deer Lake:

1) What is your party’s position on addressing homelessness?

BC Greens see safe, healthy and affordable housing as a human right because it is a matter of social justice and equity. We are aware that there are already many innovative approaches already being developed at the local by municipalities, non-profits, cooperative, co-housing and the private sector. The Green Party of BC would look to being a supportive partner in those initiatives. In Burnaby, we need to look at best practices from other  jurisdictions and develop strategies to implement those practices.

 2) 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 city and the provincial government to identify all possible options for those dealing with homelessness.  I will publicly advocate going beyond the modest proposals likely to be offered by various levels of government. I will work as you do to shine a light on the problem and break down the barriers to finding solutions.

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

I will ensure that the new government honours its promises made at election time. With your help, I will propose innovative ways to eradicate homelessness in Burnaby.

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

As an MLA, I would first compile an inventory of publicly owned lands in the city of Burnaby. This would include lands owned by the municipality, province and Federal government. I would ensure that this information is easily accessible to the public. Simultaneously, I would use the information given above to make a case to the public and government that 

homelessness is a crisis that needs to be addressed. In consultation with all stakeholders, we would identify all possibilities for the provision of a range of affordable housing options within the city.

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

I would advocate for greater cooperation between various ministries including the Ministries of Aboriginal Relations, Health, Children and Family, the ministries responsible for seniors and housing, etc. I would ensure that whichever government is in place will deliver on their promises. Guided by the principles of Green politics, I will have the independence to publicly stand up for the needs of Burnaby, regardless of who forms government.

Wyatt Tessari Green Party Candidate Burnaby Edmonds:

1) What is your party’s position on addressing homelessness?  

We can learn from places that are addressing homelessness with Housing First  policies. For Housing First policies to work, however, we need homes for people to move into and we need them now.

BC Greens propose that the government purchase or support the purchase of  housing by non-profits. During economic downturns, there are unfinished and unsold properties available to turn into long-term rent geared- to-income  housing.

To address the issues of housing affordability long term, BC Greens will  establish a provincial housing program. We will work with local governments as partners to ensure that an adequate percentage of newly built housing is  affordable. We will also advocate for a national housing program.

A basic income supplement through our commitment to a Guaranteed Livable Income  strategy will be instrumental in addressing the housing crisis. If people have adequate income, there will be less need for the government to be in  the business of providing houses.

BC Greens know there are some people who will need government support and  services to assist them in living to their capability within our communities. Services must accompany housing as part of a holistic program.

2) 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 must confirm with Burnaby city council what sites in the city are  available to host an Outreach centre with extended hours, as the current centre is only open once a week for 2 hours. At the same time we need to  find a site and make sure that there is funding in place from BC Housing for the opening of transitional housing such as that proposed last year for the  401 Motel.

Overcoming the objections of the city, due to lack of funding, will  facilitate the quick opening of short term/transitional housing.

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

The issue involves poverty reduction, job availability, housing  affordability and other intertwined challenges.  One part of our strategy would be the implementation of the Guaranteed Livable Income to replace all  income assistance programs.  This will provide basic income and streamline access to assistance, the result is a more efficient system and a better  quality of life.

With the non-profits and Homelessness Task Force help, we can prioritize the  needs of the community and go from there, though I suspect the first would be a site and funding to open transitional housing and a site to host  extended Outreach facility.

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

BC Greens would mandate that BC Housing Corp purchase existing units of  market housing that are in current or stalled projects to provide an immediate and expanding pool of permanent below market and market rental  housing.  We would also provide financial support for small-scale, mixed-income, co-op and non-profit housing.

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

It requires the funds from the provincial /federal level to start with, and  working with the city for sites in which supported housing can be either constructed or converted from older building/houses.

 BC Liberal Party Candidates in Burnaby:

1) What is your party’s position on addressing homelessness?

Today’s 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 invested $3.2 billion since 2001 to help change people’s lives.

It is clear that our plan is working. Last year, homeless outreach teams in Metro Vancouver helped connect 1,200 homeless people to stable housing, income supports, and a range of health services. The 2011 Metro Vancouver Homelessness Count showed a reduction in the City of Vancouver from 811 to 154 street homeless – an 81 per cent decline since 2008. In Metro Vancouver, the number of homeless individuals who were sheltered increased by 74 per cent overall between 2008 and 2011.

2) 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?

Today’s BC Liberal candidates are ready and willing to bring short-term housing to Burnaby. Our government has demonstrated our commitment to homelessness and those at risk of homelessness right across British Columbia, funding more than 1,600 permanent, year-round beds in 33 communities, compared to 850 beds in 2001. There are also more than 1,200 Extreme Weather Response shelter spaces available during the winter months in communities across B.C. We will spend $72 million this year for emergency shelter services.

But we cannot provide housing solutions in isolation – we need cooperation and commitment from 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.

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

Today’s BC Liberal government allocates $6.5 million annually to homeless outreach programs in 60 communities across British Columbia – including Burnaby – so that homeless individuals can be connected to housing and support services. More than 12,000 people have been housed as a result of this outreach work.

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

Today’s BC Liberal candidates will continue to work to fund innovative programs to help people who are homeless and those who face barriers such as mental illness and addictions. We will work with local organizations that know our community and want to provide assistance to Burnaby residents who most need it.

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

Today’s BC Liberals recognize the critical importance of affordable housing and the investments our government has made reflect this. Since 2001, we have added close to 21,000 new units of affordable housing across the province. More than 18,000 are complete. The remainder are in development or under construction. In 2012 alone, our government invested and leveraged more than $28 million to support subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 6,500 low-income individuals, seniors and families in Burnaby.

People already housed in the marketplace, 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, 762 senior households receive funding under SAFER, and 786 families get assistance from RAP. In total, the BC Liberal government spends more than $5 million each year for families and seniors on these programs who live in Burnaby. If elected, Today’s BC Liberal candidates will ensure these investments in our community continue.

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

Today’s BC Liberals strongly believe 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 to sign partnership agreements to fast-track approval and construction of new supportive housing units. Eight other communities have already done so.
More than $520 million has been committed this year to build more than 2,200 new supportive housing units for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness across the province. 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. And if elected, we will do our part to try to bring all of the parties together to benefit Burnaby citizens.

On behalf of:

Dr. Shian Gu, BC Liberal Candidate for Burnaby-Deer Lake
Richard T Lee, BC Liberal Candidate for Burnaby North
Ken Kramer, BC Liberal Candidate for Burnaby-Lougheed
Jeff Kuah, BC Liberal Candidate for Burnaby-Edmond

Amber Nash, BC NDP:

1) What is your party’s position on addressing homelessness?

The BC NDP believes that societies with less poverty are healthier, safer, more productive and economically more dynamic than societies with high rates of poverty.

A BC NDP government will invest $210 million in a Family Bonus Program to provide up to approximately $70 per month for children under 18, for families earning up to $66,000, which the median family income in BC.

Families earning the least will receive the greatest help, with families earning an annual $25,000 or less granted $829 per year, and those earning $50,000 granted $329 per year.

The BC NDP would immediately tie all income assistance rates to CPI and would double earnings exemptions from $200 to $400 for employables and allow a child maintenance exemption. The BC NDP would also increase income assistance rates for all singles and couples by $20/month within two years.

The BC NDP commits to build up to 1,500 units of affordable non-profit, co-operative and rental housing for low- and moderate-income families, seniors and individuals each year.

The BC NDP will also renew funding mental health and addiction outreach services.

2) 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 NDP would require BC Housing to work with the City of Burnaby on a variety of housing solutions as well as transitional housing to address the needs of the homeless.

 
3) If elected what resources will you commit to Burnaby to address the growing number of citizens who are dealing with homelessness?
Answer: The BC NDP commit to build 1500 units a year of social housing across the province to address the needs of those on low income, fixed income and homeless around the province. The distribution of housing will be done on a fair basis to each region.

The BC NDP will also renew funding for mental health and addiction outreach services.

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

The BC NDP commits to build up to 1,500 units of affordable non-profit, co-operative and rental housing for low- and moderate-income families, seniors and individuals

The BC NDP believes that market rental housing must also be more attainable to families in BC.

The BC NDP are interested in working with the private sector to explore ways to increase the stock of affordable market rental housing in communities across the province.

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

The BC NDP commits to build up to 1,500 units of affordable non-profit, co-operative and rental housing for low- and moderate-income families, seniors and individuals each year by leveraging the existing $250 million Housing Endowment Fund to support partnerships and equity con¬tributions with local governments, the private sector, and the non-profit and co-operative housing sectors.

Wayne Marklund, BC Conservative Party,  Burnaby-North: 

1) What is your party’s position on addressing homelessness?

BC Conservatives believe every person should be treated with respect and dignity.

2) 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?

There are few short term shelters in Burnaby: we must work with BC Housing and the city of Burnaby to ensure that a permanent shelter is available for everyone that is in need.

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

Social service programs are outlined to help financially struggling people in BC, we do need to look at trying to work with community based organizations.

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

Its quite obvious that we need to get BC housing, the city of Burnaby and the provincial government to sit down and develop a program that would begin to meet the growing needs of the homeless community in Burnaby.

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

– When elected, we will work to have monies set out to help build a centralized location that can offer homeless people showers, laundry, food and offices for volunteers and well as a gathering area for people to receive support for employment, addictions, basic health care and socializing.

Darwin Augustus Ivan Burns, Green Party

1) What is your party’s position on addressing homelessness?

Our party platform openly proposes “that the government purchase or support the purchase of housing by non profits. During economic downturns, there are unfinished and unsold properties available to turn into long term rent geared to income housing. BC Greens recognize that cooperative housing in BC has been successful in providing affordable housing options for lower income British Columbians. We will partner with the cooperative housing sector and other levels of government to include cooperative housing as an option when addressing housing affordability.

To deal with the issues of housing affordability in the longer term, BC Greens will establish provincial housing program. We will work with local governments as partners to ensure that an adequate percentage of newly built housing is affordable. We will also advocate for a national housing program.”

2) 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?

If I am elected, When government is not in session I intend to personally spend much of my time on the ground, continuously door knocking, and answering calls, not unlike election season to hear the voices of this constituency. Burnaby-Lougheed has an inexcusable blip in terms of average income. Something that must be addressed as a community and as a city. That said, I will not flinch from the prospect of stepping on municipal toes. A community is only as strong as it’s weakest citizen, and no city can stand proud should it push any of its members to the sidelines. We cannot fuel our communities small business economy with efficiency unless we first address poverty and homelessness.

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

I fully agree with and support the Green Parties intention to instate a minimum livable income to replace the current, and proven failed, social assistance program. What people need before all else, be it healthcare, jobs, or food, is shelter. For most, it’s the foundation of their being. A guaranteed livable income will promise each and every resident of British Columbia with basic sustinence. That in turn is often what many need to return fully into the working economy.

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

Burnaby has become a city in which it’s almost impossible for most single adults to afford a single dwelling. Resorting to shared accommodations or inconveniencing boomer parents, while young families are themselves forced to divert income from much needed future investments for their children and themselves just to sustain grossly inflated mortgage payments.

We need to firstly address the skyrocketing costs of housing and their various causes here in Metro Vancouver. Be it over-development, the open-door policies of international purchasing and investing of property, gentrification, or even changes to the landlord and tenant act. And secondly, enact a bill which would provide a (true) guaranteed low income housing minimum evenly distributed throughout each community as a part of all new developments.

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

As MLA, I would urge for an end to the billions we as a province give to big business through tax breaks and subsidies, diverting the needed fraction from there to assisting those whose lives and livelihoods are at stake. Burnaby-Lougheed’s level of low income families was last known to be 16%. That’s almost double the provincial average, and unacceptable.

And as we know, the average income isn’t about to rise anytime soon, so we as government have the ability to step in, and offer what we can to support these families while the discrepancy between income and housing prices continue to linger.

 

Posted in Burnaby, Homeless, Provincial Election 2013

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