The City of Vancouver has made a commitment to eliminate homelessness by 2015, which Mayor Gregor Robertson has said is targeted toward street homelessness. Already, the number of shelter beds available in the city has made an impact on how many people are sleeping on the street, but longer-term solutions need to be addressed as well.
Local television station CTV is in the midst of an eight-part investigative series on homelessness. Their first segment focused on the non-profit Streetohome, which aims to raise 26 million dollars to fund new supportive housing complexes. Their mandate includes providing “permanent stable housing with appropriate support services.” They’ve also identified a number of at-risk groups and intend to provide services to them that will address the issues that may lead them to become homeless.
While I think that the work that Streetohome does is fantastic, it’s only one aspect of how homelessness must be addressed. Philanthropic solutions cannot be the only action taken to relieve homelessness. Economic disenfranchisement is becoming a greater factor in our culture, especially in a city as expensive as Vancouver. I’ll be watching the CTV series with interest, to see how broadly they explore the issue.