Jang admits Vision changed homeless campaign promise after the fact

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


"Everyone will play homelessness politics, that’s the nature of the game" – Kerry Jang (photo: Vancouver Sun)

It’s been a day since Metro Vancouver released their preliminary results on the number of homeless living in the region. During that period I’ve been monitoring quite carefully how this “news” is being reported in the mainstream media. With a few notable exceptions, many of them seem to have bought into the arguments put forward by Vancouver's Mayor. He claims that major progress has been made to “reduce homelessness.”

It’s hard not to feel awkward talking about homeless people in the context of a bunch of cold, dry statistics. That’s because behind all of those numbers are many lost souls who are drug addicted, mentally ill or both.

Since 2008, the overall number of people without homes in Vancouver has gone up by about 2%. Meanwhile, the total number of homeless people who now sleep on mats in church basements has dramatically risen by 82%. According to officials, the number of homeless youth has also increased by a staggering 29%. These are not stats anyone should be shouting about from the rooftops.

If there is good news in yesterday's report it is that we're no longer seeing dramatic increases in the rate thanks to housing coming online. Since April 2008, 1,457 new social and supportive housing units secured by the previous city councils in partnership with the Province of B.C. have opened. That means over 1,400 homeless in Vancouver now have homes, yet the overall number of homeless hasn't changed a bit.

If you believed Mayor Gregor’s version of events (and many do), you would be left with a very different impression of what’s actually transpiring out there. Despite the numbers showing an overall increase in the number of homeless people, Robertson was telling the media and tweeting out that significant progress was being made to tackle the problem. It’s the kind of spin he desperately needs re-printed if he doesn’t want the issue of homelessness to become his Achilles' heel during the campaign.

Meanwhile over at the CBC, Mayor Gregor’s hapless Minister of Housing Kerry Jang, was trying to defend Vision Vancouver’s homelessness record. He was defending the fact that Vision campaigned on a pledge to end homelessness by 2015, then inserted the word “street” after the election on their website.

Jang was being grilled by Stephen Quinn, host of the popular On the Coast program. Here is transcript of part of the interview whereby he seems to admit Vision did an about face on their campaign commitment:

QUINN: When Mayor Gegor Robertson was elected he promised to end homelessness by 2015 and shortly after that he said actually he meant street homelessness.

JANG: (laughs under his breath).

QUINN: If you convince the final 145 unsheltered people to go into shelters by the next homeless count will he have solved the homelessness problem?

JANG: First thing you have to do is set a goal. That’s what leadership is. If you don’t set a goal, you’ll never achieve it. Cause then, you know what are you aiming for. We said let’s end street homelessness. Why did we pick street homelessness? People ask that question all the time.

QUINN: You actually picked homelessness first then amended it to street homelessness. There is a big difference.

JANG: Why did we amend it to street homelessness? Because good public health policy said you start with the most vulnerable. These are the people living on the street.

QUINN: But no one ever announced that you were changing the goal posts. You simply just amended it in all the documentation to add the word street.

JANG: Well no our staff were very clear. When we talked it over with our staff and our partners and people in the health professions they said start with the street homelessness because these are the people living on the street and they are in the most danger. So that’s where we went. It’s simple public health.

QUINN: Why does this have to be about who did what when. Why can’t you say the last council did a good thing? The NPA dominated council did a good thing when it struck a deal with the province to set aside these sites to work with non-profits to get stuff built. Why does this have to turn into political grandstanding every time?

JANG: I don’t think I’ve turned it into political grandstanding. I did acknowledge this at first that having the land set aside was a good thing. And uh, for us it’s simply public health. That’s all I’m looking at. I mean everyone will play politics around it, that’s the nature of the game…

I’m not sure what shocks me more. The fact Vision wants us to believe they actually campaigned to end “street homelessness” by 2015, or the fact they changed their website sometime last year and added the word “street” in front of the word homeless.

Had the Canucks lost the game last night and the city not so afflicted with hockey fever, I have no doubt the homeless survey would have made front page headlines. Unfortunately for the Mayor and his Vision party who are desperately trying to help re-write the narrative for the fall campaign, their good news pronouncements are getting bumped off the front pages.

And it's not getting better anytime soon. Once the NHL playoffs are over, we will move straight into the HST referendum then take a much needed break over the summer.

It’s very clear to me after reviewing the data released yesterday by Metro Vancouver that Mayor Gregor will not be meet his campaign pledge to end homelessness by 2015.  It is likely, however, that he will have succeeded in sweeping the homeless off the street and into costly shelters [some can run at $2000 per month per person]. For the sake of our homeless people, let's hope that out of sight doesn't mean out of mind.

- Post by Daniel. Follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus or "Like" us at Facebook.com/CityCaucus.


"Everyone will play homelessness politics, that’s the nature of the game" – Kerry Jang

Well now, you can always count on Kerry Jang to put his foot in his mouth....

would it be possible to put up a link to that CBC interview..

"It is likely, however, that he will have succeeded in sweeping the homeless off the street and into costly shelters [some can run at $2000 per month per person]."

This is how modern socialism works. The only people who ever get the fabled "support" are those who work delivering the services to the "needy." It's a welfare-state, alright---for the admins/workers in the welfare state, who treat those actually in need as meat for their grinder.

As for ending street homelessness, that is simply impossible given the weather in Vancouver and the continual supply of people who come here from all over Canada to engage in their drop-out lifestyle, which supports a huge array of socialist workers who purport to help these people---but, let us be rational: if they helped all of these people into self-sufficiency, rather than into co-dependency with the welfare state, they'd be out of jobs. So rationally there is a disincentive to solve the problem for all involved--dropouts would have to give up their dropout lifestyle, and the welfare state that relies on dropouts would have to find honest labor not predicating of having suffering classes.

As for Jang, the man is a psychiatrist. They are accustomed to saying whatever they like without any accountability whatsoever, so this is no surprise. After all, they're just trying to "help" people, right?

Jang's comments make me even more cynical of civic politicians of all stripes. Vision thought we were all stupid enough to believe they meant they wanted to end homelessness by 2015. Now we find out they inserted an "out" clause by adding the word street into the equation.

I voted Vision once, but no more. I'm one of the voters who participated in the recent opinion poll which showed Vision's popularity dropped by 11 percent in the last few months. More of this baffle-gab and you can expect people like Jang will be given their walking papers later this fall.

I plan on sending this story to all of my friends and family in order that they too don't vote vision.

The first time I met Kerry Jang he called himself a "capitalist". The second time I met him a couple of months later, he called himself a "socialist".

He must be playing politics around it because "that’s the nature of the game…"

The Thought of The Day

'If Kerry Jang is thinking one day to quit psychiatry, politics and caring for the homeless, he will always have something to fall back on...acting, that is.'

When I talked with Jim Jarmusch, the movie director, a couple of months ago, I said to him:

'...so, there is this guy here in Vancouver, I want you to see, that likes to dress like an undertaker, and has this look of concern on his face most of the times, apparently not knowing what he is concerned about; he likes to listen a lot not saying much but always agreeing with everything you say; he charges by the hour, every 50 minutes, he is a politician an educator and a savior; he has a split personality, three to be more exact'

...so I said to him:

'I think this guy will be perfect for your 'Stranger than Paradise' sequel in the role of Willie.'

I sent him the picture (cut from a WE front cover few months back) of Kerry sitting in front of an empty lot, dilapidated buildings in the background, and holding a white board, that in all honesty it looked like a hot TV set to me, considering Kerry's body language(in one of his many 'looking up for guidance' classic postures).

The other day I received a call. It was Jim.

'I dunno, Gliss, do you have another shot of the guy, this time holding an umbrella, and in character?'

So, I'll be sending him the picture that accompanies this feature.It will close the deal, IMO, for sure. I'll make Kerry a movie star.

'Man with closed umbrella, in a wet deserted parking lot, looking up...for more advice.'

Hearing voices and talking to the man in the sky...I know, I know, it's a gift, and a curse.

Not bad for a guy who went into psychiatry because he had an extra leather couch in his parent's basement and because he liked the idea of carrying a drug prescription pad on him, at all times...

I have to approach Jang now, and pitch him the role of Willy. I'll say:

'Acting 'homelessness politics' in a Jarmusch movie, called 'A Vision Stranger than Paradise' Kerry. Now, how would this game plan make you feel?'


'Oh, and one more thing, bring your deal-breaker drug prescription pad with you! I don't want Jim to put a spell on me.'

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Jang might want to brush up on recent history. According to him, the NPA only set aside land for social housing units.

Perhaps he would like to take a moment to review this:

Memorandum of Understanding
BC Housing Management Commission (BC Housing) and
the City of Vancouver (the City)
regarding the development of City-owned sites for social and supportive housing,
and dated for reference October 29, 2007


All these posts about 'busting' vision and not a single idea from anyone on what the solution is. Is finding one really what you're all interested in? Or is it just scoring petty political points. It's tough to tell.

1. yes I'd say scoring petty political points.

2. rubbing their nose in it.

3. a solution.. I say we get rid of the poverty pimps in November.

What is a poverty pimp you say...

Poverty pimp or "professional poverty pimp"

is a pejorative label used to convey that an individual or group is benefiting unduly by acting as an intermediary on behalf of the poor, the disadvantaged, or some other "victimized" groups.

Those who use this appellation suggest that those so labeled profit unduly from the misfortune of others, and therefore do not really wish the societal problems that they appear to work on to be eliminated permanently, as it is not in their own interest for this to happen.

The most frequent targets of this accusation are those receiving government funding or that solicit private charity to work on issues on behalf of various disadvantaged individuals or groups, but who never seem to be able to show any amelioration of the problems experienced by their target population. Some even suggest that that if profit were eliminated as a factor, greater steps in the alleviation of the oppressive situations could begin to truly occur.

Now I consider political gain to be a profit...

Is finding one really what you're all interested in? Or is it just scoring petty political points. It's tough to tell.

Not sure but you may have posted this to the wrong address boohoo. Could I suggest you forward it to gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca and clrjang@vancouver.ca?

Dennis O'Bell
LOL.... very funny!

Has anyone told Jang that double breasted suits and coats went out of vogue at the same time funding for COOP housing was cutback in the 80's?

Jang makes in excess of $200,000 in his several p/t jobs. You would think part of that money could be spent on some new clothes.

Now see George, you've just proved my point. Throwing out the current crop isn't a solution. At least I really hope you don't think it is--do you?


haha. Do you, or anyone have a positive action you could suggest other than 'I can't wait to vote them out'?

yes boo I do think every last one of them needs to go...

that includes Parks Board and School Board...

yup Boohoo, I have a solution - gather up all the money currently being spent and hand it over to the Union Gospel Mission.

I can guarantee the outcomes would be different.


'..it's tough to tell..'

Not really. Personally I don't like being taken for a fool by a bunch of smug, self satisfied incompetents who have failed to live up to their promises. The pathetic level of initiation of new housing projects under this administration is going to have hard consequences for many people in years to come. Though from the comfort of their future sinecures they will no doubt surface now and again to blame the inheritors of their legacy just as they now take credit for the successes of their predecessors. I'd almost like them to win again, just so they have to own their inaction.

Exposing the hollowness of Vision is a perfectly valid first step in a representative democracy, painful though it may be to those who can't answer the hard questions and have to fall back on tired evasions. I can assure you that if we get an NPA council I at least will as determined that they live up to any commitments they make, just as I want to see Gregor and company held responsible (there's a word he has never much understood!) for not living up to theirs.

"Personally I don't like being taken for a fool by a bunch of smug, self satisfied incompetents who have failed to live up to their promises"

Yet you honestly believe the NPA (or any party) would be different? I mean come on, all the faux shock and outrage here about how vision didn't live up to their promises is a bit much. Political party says a bunch of shit to get elected and doesn't come through--wow, breaking news I tells ya.


Everyone one of them may need to go--but do you think that's a solution to anything?

boohoo stop playing dumb...
if you have something to contribute do so..

The UGC and the Salvation Army, both very worthy of funding.

Intersting to learn that the Portland Housing Society had $68M in assets, property, in 2008. I would imagine that number has grown since then.

No wonder they fight so hard to run all the SRO's etc.

"Everyone will play homelessness politics, that’s the nature of the game" – Kerry Jang

Nice. And at the expense of those that need help and took Vision at their word of help.

"boohoo stop playing dumb..."

You are making a very big assumption here George.


I disagree. Throwing politicians out is not a solution to anything. Let's say they're thrown out--ok, then what? What's the next crop going to do that's different/better? I have yet to hear of anything from any candidate other than 'vision bad'.


Cheap, personal attacks--way to keep scrape that barrel.

I've got a much more constructive solution. Suspend the election until such time as I and my Visionary team make real progress on an end to homelessness*

(* as defined by those living in alleys and streets defined by the downtown/west end boundaries set out in Zoning Table A and determined by local residents as unsightly or otherwise indigent)

The suspension of an election will allow the civic government time to integrate homeless* people into the electorate and cube our democracy

Gregor T. Hollyhock, spokesmodel
Vision Vancouver - a division of Joel Solomon Inc.

'Civic' Lee did a great article on the war on homelessness - see his blog site, today, May 26.

This is a great line:

'I don't know what the solution is. I do believe that the lives of those who now sleep in emergency shelters is probably a bit easier than when they were out on the street. But to suggest that ending "street homelessness" is a victory is like suggesting that because the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden they won the war on terrorism.'

Max read Allen Garr's, (this despicable Vision tweet, uses that Vancouver Courier paper as his personal Hollyhock propaganda sheet) last high grade manure piece. He suggested that the name 'street' as in 'street homelessness' was there on the Vision site and in Gregor's speech back in 2008. He forgot to add BTW, that they were altered on the Vision site and in other Vision related documents but ...remain at large in publications like Georgia Straight and on many other residual links, blogs,...it's a matter of browsing stupid!

Check out BCWineLover.com!

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