CityCaucus Redux: Mayor Gregor backpedals on pledge to end homelessness by 2015

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

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gregor-bike
Homelessness is up by 12% in Vancouver – now the Mayor is backpedaling on a promise

Originally posted April 20, 2010, in this CityCaucus Redux post we clear up questions about whether the shifting goal posts of Mayor Gregor's promise to end homelessness by 2015...

During the last civic election, Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver caucus were elected on a commitment to end homelessness by 2015. In fact, Robertson quit his job as a provincial MLA (triggering a half million dollar by-election) in order to solve homelessness from his new perch at 12th and Cambie. If you don't believe me, here is what the Mayor said in his inaugural speech:

I’m told that ending homelessness is an audacious goal. And that’s true. But for someone who’s sleeping under a bridge tonight, 2015 can’t come soon enough.

The Mayor's own numbers demonstrate that homelessness has actually gone up by 12% since the year he got elected. No matter how much spin the Mayor's office staff would like to fabricate, the bottom line is there are more people sleeping on Vancouver’s streets and in shelters today than two years ago. So how does this square with Robertson's commitment to end homelessness by 2015? Well, perhaps the Mayor's campaign pledge was not quite as air tight as we were all led to believe.

During my recent appearance on the Bill Good Show, development consultant, fellow panelist and former Vision mayoral candidate Jim Green admitted that Gregor Robertson won't be ending homelessness by 2015 after all. Yes, you read that correctly. Despite publicly committing that he would end homelessness by 2015, we now find that Robertson is backpedaling from his original commitment.

Still don't believe me? Surely fellow CKNW panelist and Globe and Mail contributor Frances Bula has her facts straight on this one when she told the CKNW listening audience:

Daniel's right when he says the City has backed off on trying to end homelessness by 2015. They sort of vaguely said that during the campaign and now they are very scrupulous about saying "street" homelessness.

If you scan the Vision Vancouver website you will also find the following statement:

Mayor Gregor Robertson has set 2015 as the goal for ending homelessness in Vancouver.

If you think that I was the only one duped into thinking Vision Vancouver would end homelessness by 2015, think again. I'm in very good company. Here is a headline from Megaphone, the newspaper run by Vancouver's street people:

During Gregor Robertson’s victory speech, Vancouver’s new mayor didn’t shy away from his commitment to end homelessness by 2015. Promising to put together an emergency task force and an action plan within 90 days, Robertson boldly claimed, “We are going to end homelessness in Vancouver.

It’s a promise that helped Robertson defeat the NPA’s Peter Ladner, who insisted homelessness was the provincial government’s responsibility. But is it a promise Robertson can keep?

Even the Vision friendly Vancouver Observer run by Linda Solomon (the sister of Joel Solomon, one of the Mayor's key advisors) ran this headline:

City Hopes Count Will Help End Homelessness by 2015

The mainstream media also appear to have been duped. Here is what The Province wrote:

Mayor kick-starts 'clear plan' to end city homelessness - 2015 goal to begin with 2010 deadlines for 'city-specific' count, ideas; Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson wants city staff to get serious about ending homelessness in the city by 2015.

And the Financial Post:

Robertson, who made a campaign pledge to end homelessness by 2015, said officials are reviewing all city-controlled facilities to see which would be suitable for emergency shelters.

And Metro News:

The city, which has a goal of ending homelessness by 2015, is updating its homeless action plan and wants a baseline against which to judge its efforts.

And the good folks over at GlobalTV reported:

The mayor made an election promise to end homelessness in Vancouver by 2015.

BC's largest newspaper wrote:

Candidates sparred over who could house them the fastest, news conferences were held on their figurative doorsteps, and when newly minted mayor Gregor Robertson proclaimed to supporters at the Hotel Vancouver that “we are going to end homelessness in Vancouver,” the well-heeled crowd went wild.

Canada's public broadcaster reported on Robertson's commitments by writing:

Other promises included eliminating homelessness by 2015

Even someone who declares he's been a personal friend of the Mayor for 10 years thought he was going to end homelessness by 2015:

Secondly, I found the platform he ran and won on downright inspiring: Working collaboratively to end homelessness by 2015 - Jason Mogus, Communicopia

There you have it, folks. If you're feeling like Gregor Robertson's commitment to end homelessness has holes big enough to drive a hybrid truck through it...you've got good reason to believe that. Now back to regularly scheduled spinning programming.

- post by Daniel

11 Comments

Wonder who the Silly Hall spin doctoress will blame this story on.

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - After a night that saw snow and temperatures close to freezing, a homeless man was found dead in front of a building on Granville and Davie early this morning.

He was found by someone walking by who noticed the man hadn't moved for some time. The man was 55-years-old; his death isn't considered suspicious.

The coroner is now handling the case. His name is not being released.

We have talked with several homeless shelters around Vancouver who say there were no weather alerts in effect last night, but with all the snow and rain, many say they were running at 110 per cent capacity.


Very sad. The weather as we know was extremely unpredictable in the past 48 hours. Bitter cold, rain, hail, thunder, even snow. While I stayed warm at home last night, I cannot imagine the suffering of someone dying on a stoop on Granville while people walked by. Heartbreaking.

Very sad,
reminds me of Curtis Brick when folks walked past his body for hours in extreme heat...

He bailed out from that MLA job because of the poor woman that died trying to keep herself warm.Under his watch and following the hiring of a number of incompetent managers (Ballem, Sadhu...) three men died in a horrific fire. This morning the puppet who envisioned (LOL) the end to homelessness/ street homelessness (maybe roof and why not pay parking homelessness could be next)by 2015 will add another man to his record. Yeah, I'm talking about the worst Mayor of Vancouver ever! And after Larry Campbell I thought we couldn't get lower...

Hey Canada Vancouver calling
VANCOUVER’S NEVER ENDING HOMELESS PROBLEM
Send us your homeless addicted and challenged there’s more room at this inn. For one day of the month Vancouver’s shelters are empty “Welfare Day”, the taxpayers really do give back @ this time. The ATMS have been spitting out Fifty’s since midnight yesterday’s political issue’s have been put on hold, the Neo Non Prof’s and their subjects are to “FREAKIN” busy getting high. These groups have stated that addiction has nothing to do with being homeless they said, even if you spend your rent money on drugs you’re are still entitled to shelter. They believe that marginalized people have a free pass @ our expense, and that no accountability is a god given right. How dare you if I spend my money on lottery ticket’s taxi’s drugs booze etc. that you will not “GIMME SHELTER”. By the end of today “FIFTY PEOPLE WILL BE HOMELESS” because they spent money on the items above, ten new people will arrive on our doorstep for “EASTVAN’S orientation from some part of the country. On another note as I drove by the “CARNEGIE” this morn there was five dealers standing @ there post’s keeping very busy hopefully they will have enough time in the day to hit “WESTERN UNION” as well as putting down a deposit on a new condo.

“ONCE HOMELESS AND ADDICTED

I wrote this two years ago and it's just as relevant today as it was then

OH YEAH

In Vancouver alone there's a few of us who like to hang out in the dtes, the ten shelters that are available are not quite enough. The advocates who speak on our behalf are pushing for homes houses etc. Me personally I would be happy to have a new place to rest my head after a long day pursuing my addiction. Hopefully there will be soup lines and handout's close by because i will have no money to take care of myself. As a person who takes full advantage of addiction support services which are every three feet in the dtes I have no other goal or motive in my life but to get high and stay high. I'm used to handout's except from the dealers, they are brutal they only want the money I obtain by begging borrowing or stealing with the exception of welfare day, when the taxpayers pay the bill. What a great country why would i even hink of turning my life around when everybody will give me anything i want except what i really need, which is a swift kick in the ass and a life free of addiction .That's me homeless and addicted and living and loving your support keep it coming or Judy Graves will make a movie about me and girlfriend Wendy from the Carnegie will start a protest march, they seem to think they represent me when in reality they represent the drug dealers.

Agree Disagree.

@phatpooch

agree!!

Gregor and his visionless thugs have no intention of ending homelesness.
Gregors handlers at the Tides Foundation are actually making people homeless. Hollyhock hollytalk its all hot air making a few very rich laundering others money.

The Harsh Reality of Drug Addiction richardmclaughlin007 — January 18, 2009 — after 11 months of sobriety from drug addiction, in 7 short days this man hits the depths of despair and insanity.
This video was shot in Vancouver's downtown eastside by the narrator it is quite extreme, It shows how common place and and readily available drugs are and how people can succumb to a extreme physical reaction from lack of sleep, nutrition and dehydration. This video was made for many different reasons, one being educational the other as mentioned earlier it's common place here in Vancouver. In any other city or town in North America this man would have received immediate medical attention but here in Vancouver both the police and ambulance just drive by. If you do not believe me come on down and see our "HARM REDUCTION EXPERIMENT"
This man was spotted two hours later sleeping on a concrete curb as his pillow.
Both the narrator and producer of this video have had spent many years struggling with addiction and have spent hard time in Vancouver's "NOTORIOUS" downtown eastside.
Today they have escaped and are clean and sober and now dedicate there lives to those who still suffer from "THE HARSH REALITY OF ADDICTION"
the Harsh Reality of Drug Addiction | Health News, Primary Care News, Pediatrics News, Cardiology Ne
healthznews.com

There are several men in my area that are homeless, all in their late 40's to 60's.

When the weather first started getting bad I told them the shelter at 4th and Fir was operating as well as St. Mark's Church, which is blocks from where they gather.

What I did not know was that unless a cold weather alert goes out, these 'shelters' don't necessarily open or don't open until 9:00 pm.

And as 'Wayne' (one of my locals) put it, the cold rain is harder to get through than the snow and cold temperatures.

He is somewhat lucky as he has a brother that lives in one of the PHS run hotels downtown. He does go and stay with him from time to time. But for Chuck, Chris, Dana and Larry, they don't have that option.

These guys are not drug addicts, alcohol and mental illness are their issues. Chris is facinating to talk to, he knows so much history about Kits and Vancouver. Larry is smart as well. Dana is a character...(Dana de Luva because he loves the ladies!)

Chuck wanders through, he has been on the street for a little over a year and wants change. He has been getting some 'day jobs' and is looking to get housing somewhere. He comes down to Chris's free corner (4th and Macdonald)and grabs t-shirts for himself.

As an NPA candidate for Vancouver City Council in 2008, one of the most frustrating aspects of the election campaign was watching Vision gain more and more momentum with their promise to end homelessness. This because we knew that while City Council plays a part in the solution, the solution does not lie with the City in isolation. The federal government, provincial governments, and municipal governments Canada-wide must work together to combat homelessness.

Municipal governments simply do not have the resources to go it alone; we could not commit to ending homelessness because we knew it simply was not possible; this obviously did not go over well with the public. While there are things that can be done on the local level, in the grand scheme, if we are to conceivably 'end homelessness' (a lofty goal at the best of times), the best a municipal government can do is promise to make combating homelessness a priority and to do so by working with other levels of government. Mayor Robertson, as a former MLA, should have know this himself.

Korina Houghton

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