Vancouver battle against homelessness undercut by federal inaction on housing

The rising numbers of homeless identified in last month’s Vancouver homeless count are being matched by increases in Toronto and Calgary, as well, says UBC Okanagan professor Carey Doberstein, because Ottawa is not doing its part to support affordable housing.

Vancouver’s increase is somewhat offset by the fact that this city has done the most to move people off the street and into shelter. But a shelter is not a home, and Mayor Gregor Robertson has emphasized his commitment to keep working to eliminate street homelessness.

Part of the solution lies in expanding housing options across the spectrum, including with market rental. Here Vancouver is well ahead of its peers, with 2,839 new rental units built or in the pipeline, equivalent to 189 percent of the goal for this stage of the city’s 10-year plan.

Good news? Not for everyone, apparently. Today, Green Party councillor Adriane Carr voted against Metro Vancouver Housing Corp.’s Heather Place proposal, which features 230 units of rental housing, including at least 52 with subsidized rents and about 11 fully-accessible units. All Vision and NPA councillors present voted in favour.