Web archive proves Vision Vancouver altered homeless promise

Post by Mike Klassen in


Can you spot the difference between Vision in 2008 & 2011?

It was only moments after NPA city councillor Suzanne Anton announced that she was seeking the Mayor's job when the Vision Swiftboating crew revved their engines. With the party taking a dip in the polls, and their electoral prospects relying upon the reputation of Gregor Robertson, the reaction was perhaps predictable.

Was the attempt to damage Anton's reputation simply Vision's way to distract people from their past flip-flops?

During the 2008 campaign Gregor Robertson promised one thing repeatedly: it would be through his efforts that Vancouver would be rid of homelessness. There were no qualifiers on that promise either, despite the adament suggestions of Mayor's office aides, and he even stated clearly on the night he was elected "we will end homelessness in Vancouver."

Even Vision Vancouver's website even repeated the claim:

"Mayor Gregor Robertson has set 2015 as the goal for ending homlessness in Vancouver"

Hey, wait a sec... Has someone in Vision HQ been fiddling with the website? Sadly, it would appear so.

Vision's website currently has a page titled "Solving Homelessness." Pretty straightforward heading, huh? Except, something funny happened to the page. Someone added a word that changes the whole meaning of Vision's promise.

Here, according to the Internet Archive, is what Vision's website stated when it was recorded on May 25, 2009:

Since taking power, Vision Vancouver has been relentless in pushing for progressive, short-term and long-term solutions to our city's homelessness and affordable housing problems. Mayor Gregor Robertson has set 2015 as the goal for ending homlessness (sic) in Vancouver. Our mayor and council were opposed to the previous NPA administration’s cuts to affordable housing in SE False Creek. We have lobbied the federal government, calling for new funding for housing, and championed policies to spark new housing and protect current tenants. Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver have the ideas and determination to end homelessness and develop more affordable housing in Vancouver.

Now here is the exact same page and paragraph as it reads today:

Since taking power, Vision Vancouver has been relentless in pushing for progressive, short-term and long-term solutions to our city's homelessness and affordable housing problems. Mayor Gregor Robertson has set 2015 as the goal for ending street homlessness (sic) in Vancouver. Our mayor and council were opposed to the previous NPA administration’s cuts to affordable housing in SE False Creek. We have lobbied the federal government, calling for new funding for housing, and championed policies to spark new housing and protect current tenants. Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver have the ideas and determination to end homelessness and develop more affordable housing in Vancouver.

Can you spot the difference? Look closely and don't strain your eyes. Someone has added the word "street," as in street homelessness.

"Mayor Gregor Robertson has set 2015 as the goal for ending street homlessness (sic) in Vancouver."

Well, isn't that interesting. Why on Earth would someone go out of their way to tweak the language on Vision's website?

That's because ending street homelessness isn't ending homelessness.

The phrase "street homelessness" (which means to sleep outside) was never used in any official capacity by the City of Vancouver's housing department. Which is why this is arguably Gregor Robertson's greatest achievement since taking office – he's created a new classification of homelessness.

Vision didn't bother to clip out this statement though:

Our mayor and council were opposed to the previous NPA administration’s cuts to affordable housing in SE False Creek.

Vision may have been opposed to cutting affordable housing, but that didn't stop them from slashing social housing in half at the Olympic Village. The other half is now much pricier market rental – with priority going to unionized teachers and police. The NPA promised 20% social housing on the site, and Vision gave us only slightly over 10%.

If we're going to have an intelligent discussion about ending homelessness in our city, perhaps we better start being a little more honest from the outset. Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver have flip-flopped on their biggest campaign promise on ending homelessness, and thanks to the Internet Archive it's all in black and white.

- Post by Mike Klassen. Mike is a city council candidate for the Vancouver Non-Partisan Association (NPA). If you're an elected official or candidate seeking a nomination and want to write about urban issues, please send your 450-500 word submission to CityCaucus@gmail.com.

Follow Mike on Twitter or on Facebook or visit his website at klassenforvancouver.com.


I suppose some kids read 1984 and thought it was an instruction manual?

for fun...

2008 picture..affordable housing.. piggy's arms(Vision) are outstretched tail exposed... gardens and food growth not so much...

2011 picture... cots and mats on floors,instead of housing,
lots of flowers and garden's bearing fruit...

"piggy" (Vision) has his tail(a**) covered, and a big smug smile on it's face..and many more piggy's at the trough(special interests)...

did I miss anything?

It's funny, the Vision supporters claim that "street homelessness" was what they were talking about all along, and that those of us who claim otherwise are simply making the story up.

Yet if Vision is spending their time changing the wording of past documents in order to "bolster" their argument, it would seem to me they aren't quite as confident in their position as their online supporters seem to be.

I guess you could call this reVisionist history. The NDP are infamous for doing this kind of stuff. Their leader Adrian Dix even changed a memo when he was chief of staff to Premier Clark. Switching "homelssness" to "street homlessness" is par for the course.

It is as that saying goes...if you repeat a lie often enough, you begin to believe it.

As for the homeless count, it gets released to the public on July 10, 2011, prior to that - it goes to council for their review.

I hope Ms. Anton is on her toes as you have to know the Vision spin doctors will be working overtime, regardless of the numbers.

Hey max, welcome back... if they aren't releasing it until July, what is this... do you know?

Homeless numbers revealed Tuesday
Mike Bothwell

After new emergency shelters and government announcements on housing for the homeless, there are hopes a new homelessness count released Tuesday will show some results.

People in charge of homelessness programs are hoping they'll see an impact in this year's numbers. That's according to Alice Sundberg of the Regional Committee on Homelessness.

But she says it's hard to predict if housing initiatives will actually push the numbers down, "We really don't have a sense of whether those things will have an impact. Remember there that we also had an economic downturn during that time."

Held every three years, the last two counts have shown big increases in numbers of those living on the street.

Sundberg says the count helps officials assess what programs are and are not working.

I wonder how Robertson’s plan is going…(well we know #1 (tweaking, how about enfocing bylaws) and #3 are a compelte wash and #4 never will materialize....)

Gregor Robertson’s Plan to End Homelessness in Vancouver

The Lore Krill Co-op building in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside was the venue for mayoral hopeful Gregor Robertson’s presentation on how he would tackle the city’s homelessness crisis should he become mayor. The event was hosted by Pivot Legal Society’s David Eby.

His plan included four elements:

1. Protect the city’s existing low-income housing stock by enforcing and tweaking by-laws to foster a shift from a speculation driven market toward one aimed at getting people off the street;

2. Increase supports to the homeless by hiring more outreach workers to connect with difficult to reach citizens – those struggling with disabilities, mental illness and addictions – and assisting them with accessing affordable shelter;

3. Create more low-income housing by using the city’s $1.3 billion in property holdings as leverage with funding partners and investors who presently have little confidence due to a lack of cohesion among all levels of government; his business-oriented approach would highlight savings derived from moving away from the $55,000 currently spent per homeless person each year on police, emergency services and shelters, hospitals, etc. to social housing which will cost taxpayers $38,000 per year, per person;

4. Encourage property owners to rent the thousands of vacant houses and suites in the city by placing a tax on empty residences as an incentive to property owners to rent them out rather than flip them to other investors.

He stated that while his strategy to end homelessness is grounded in a moral imperative, its application will be driven primarily by the simple fact that it costs less to end homelessness than it does to force people out onto the streets, a “business sells” approach that makes clear economic sense


Homeless numbers down
Charmaine de Silva | Email news tips to charmaine.desilva@corusent.com

The 2011 homeless count in Metro Vancouver is down slightly from 2008.

The decrease is just 1 per-cent - 2660 three years ago compared to 2623 this year.

This year's count has found more people using shelters.

This CKNW story is very misleading cause the overall # of homeless people in Vancouver since 2008 has actually gone up.

Gregor got elected in '08 and pledged to end homelessness, but heading into an election, the numbers are still higher than when he took office.

You can expect he'll huff and puff about how he's swept all the homeless off the streets and into church basements. He'll call this "progressive". Mark my words.



But remember the 2010 count was commissioned by 'the city' (IE: Vision) - at a cost of $75K or so and did show a significant increase of 12%.

The 2011 numbers are what will be recorded for stats purposes as it is the 'official count'.

So, let's bet that Robertson and gang will use the 2008 numbers when they start talking about homelessness as the 2011 count shows a marginal decrease and makes them look like they've actually done something.

There are people who care about what's going on in this city and then there are people that don't give a damn.
Vision cannot pull this stunt on the people who care about this city because they know Vision are lying. The people who don't give a damn will continue to do so. So the question is, how foolish the Vision voting members could be to go for something like this.

Also...on a different but close to home topic. The photo-op Mayor, the first 'renter' of Vancouver is meeting with the real and concerned renters on the 26 at the Alice K room at the main branch Public Library. Thinking that this phony moved in a house in Vancouver prior to his first stunt as a politician, house that is 'owned' by Ohana Corp., where both Gregor and wife are directors and part owners with some rich lawyer (stepdad actually) from San Francisco area (doesn't sound like the way all their american charity money are moved through Tides/endswel/renewall...?)all this exercise is an insult to the ones that are in real need of rental dwellings.

ONe more thing, have anyone seen Aaron Jasper photo in the WestEnder, the one where he is sitting in front of his litter boxes on the roof of the Joe Fortes community center? One for Monday, one for Tuesday...
Also after spreading the news for almost a week that there is going to be a garden top roof on top of Joe Fortes community center, and after allocating half a million dollars Park Board monies, to repair the roof Jasper added in his interview that, listen to this, he is 'planning' to look into having a green roof (like the do in New York, LOL, what's with New York, first Robertson and Meggs, then reimer , now Jasper) if that's structurally possible. (yeah bozo, you don't have to plan to look in the future, you ask a structural engineer to give you an estimate, opinion, quote...right now before the work starts)

re: Green Roof for Community Center - " you ask a structural engineer to give you an estimate, opinion, quote...right now before the work starts"

You also ask your insurance agent if he or she will ensure the thing against water ingress and fire (in case of drought... grass likes to burn)

For those who want to be ecologically sensitive, there are other acceptable and less costly alternatives (ie low-emissivity ballasts).

They don't sound as sexy in election season though....

I'm confused.. these numbers are very different than what is being reported on the news... another thought... why is so much money being spent on providing shelters for the homeless so they can bring in their pets...

I can't find affordable housing that allows my pets.. I can't get into, BC Housing, because of my cat.. and I can't give up an animal that has depended on me for over 10 years... rock and hard place to be sure...but it states in this statement from the Mayor that money for shelters to allow pets was given by the province...there is a double standard here...

I feel discriminated against!! LOL


George, equity and discrimination aside...

If you look at the situation in isolation, many times the barrier to someone getting inside and away from freezing temperatures is their shopping cart and their pet. Or, someones entire worldly possessions and their only friend.

If the objective is to stop someone from dying of exposure on the street, I guess the only option is to remove all barriers to going inside - which includes a spot for the shopping cart and a spot for the dog. The HEAT shelters were exactly that - barrier free, which were to accommodate the hardest to house.

In one breath I understand it, and the next I read George's totally accurate reality and wonder what on earth is wrong with this picture that I have trouble reconciling.

Totally agree Julia, and I was a bit tongue in cheek...

That being said there are many people with disabilities, and I'm in that number count, that rather than give up our only friend, our only companion... we use the food allotment of our cheques to pay more rent ...so we aren't alone... I wonder does anyone know if pets are allowed in the Olympic Village Housing?

Or if the folks going into the shelter, when housing is found do they get to take their pets, or do they have to give them up? Anyone know?

That might account for why people prefer to stay in the shelters...

one more thought on this subject... when people are in the shelters... who pays to feed the pets?

Does the shelter provide pet food...if that is the case... I want in!!

Hi George:

There are food banks for pets and vet services for homeless and low income people.

Mission Possible/ Charlie's Food Bank and Vet Clinic is one of them.

I know once a year, vets offer up their services (I think at the Roundhouse)to spay/neuter and do general check-ups on pets - to help people out.

Hi Max,
I'm actually aware of those programs...

My focus here is actually on the housing portion of my question... are pets allowed in the transition from shelter to housing offered by BC Housing..
if not that is a problem... if so then that is a problem...also I'm really interested to know if pets are allowed in OV social housing...

George, I realize your comments are tongue in check but I am sure there is a small flicker of truth to your sentiments.

I think you would agree, the dignity and self respect you have gained because of the decisions you have made for your life are worth far more than dog food and housing for your pet.

Not everyone is as brave as you.

absolutely!! and Julia, you are a sweetheart for your kind words...

Street homeless is down due to the shelters, which were still open in March and at the time of the count. Some of those shelters have not recieved new funding from the province – which means, those counted as sheltered are back out on the street until Oct/Nov. rolls around of which they will again be warehoused.

The homeless number has not changed by much.

Hanging onto the ‘street homeless in shelters’ theory reduces the number of street homeless is somewhat misleading

OK ready for a little Gregor humor...

Our Mayor just tweeted this little gem... did he really use the word Tide???

Gregor Robertson
Thanks to City's strong partners - BC govt, community orgs + generous citizens. We've turned the tide on homelessness!
4 minutes ago via Twitter · Like · · @MayorGregor on Twitter

From Global BC:

'Overall, in Vancouver there are 1,605 people catagorized as homeless. Of those, 1,392 live in emergency shelters. Another 98 are classified as having "no fixed address" but who were staying in hospitals, detox centres or police cells. The remaining 145 live rough on the street.'

I am not sure why those shelters SHOULD receive new funding - they are extreme weather shelters - not housing. Next October/November the province will hopefully step up and provide funding once again for these temporary locations.

The chances of freezing to death in Vancouver in March are very small.

Waste of time.
George are you really reading this type of crap? I thought the only ones flocking to this guy's Titties account was because because they work for him.
Here, read mine:

ICBC's new era of cooperation. New Auto Licence plates for Vision supporters priced to move: "BC The Happiest place on Planet" 14 minutes ago via Twitter ·@Higgins on Twitter

Higgins... LOL

No I do it just for these little gems of wisdom.. if you remember I posted the last tweet before the fire on Pandora Street that clearly showed our Mayor was in town but chose not to do media....

one just never knows.. and I have always said social media will be Visions downfall.... there was a time when I was dumb enough to be a Vision member... but when the Kool Aid came out, I ran for cover... ;-)

I just can't see how they can bank success on moving numbers.

I know there are more homeless in my area than over previous years.

And the other day I had the great pleasure of walking out our back doorway to the recyling bins to find two guys shooting up directly to the left of the door. This was about 3-4 in the afternoon.

I actually jumped as I did not expect it.

We have kids in the building and there are kids in housing directly accross the alley and I am sorry, but I will not put up with that. Call me NIMBY - I still don't care.

I basically told them they had about 30 seconds to leave before I was upstairs and dialing 911.

You guys both are funny.
I agree with both of you.
NOTE to Daniel and City Caucus!
1 Number the comments (#1, #2,...)it is easier to refer to.
2 I want a (Happy Face!) and not this:
3 EDIT button

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