New Westminster – On February 27, 2017, the Metro Vancouver Regional Homelessness Task Force released its position paper: Addressing Homelessness in the Metro Vancouver Region with new research findings and recommendations aimed at reversing the unprecedented rise in the number of homeless people living on the streets, in makeshift camps and temporary shelters across the region. The City of New Westminster’s Mayor Jonathan X. Coté and the City’s Chief Administrative Officer Lisa Spitale represented New Westminster on the Task Force that put forward the action plan and its recommendations.
“The City of New Westminster is committed to reversing homelessness in our community,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté. “We’re ready to work with the provincial and federal governments and community agencies to implement the proposed action plan and address increasing homelessness in New Westminster and the region as a whole.”
The Task Force recommends that provincial and federal governments work with local municipalities and community agencies to implement an immediate action plan by the end of 2017. The action plan identifies 12 key priorities based on three distinct goals: preventing people from becoming homeless, serving those who are homeless, and finding pathways out of homelessness.
“The City has been very proactive in addressing homelessness and is one of the better resourced municipalities in term of shelter capacity and supportive housing in Metro Vancouver,” said John Stark, the City’s Senior Social Planner. “While the City has not seen the large encampments which are commonplace in other municipalities, the evidence suggests that the numbers are increasing in our city and that a coordinated regional response involving all levels of government is warranted.”
To learn more about the homelessness crisis and read the position paper, visit www.metrovancouver.org/homelessness