Media Release – Housing Minister plans to force homeless into shelters – or jail

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For Immediate Release

Sept. 21, 2009

Forcing homeless into non-existent or cramped shelters is hypocritical and could be dangerous

The Housing Minister’s plan may force homeless people into shelters during cold, wet weather has numerous problems in addition to violating their civil rights. That’s the conclusion of the Carnegie Community Action Project after reading internal documents released to the public. “Just between April 1st and September 13th of 2009 almost 2000 people were turned away from the city’s HEAT shelters because they were full. And now 2 of them are closed,” said CCAP organizer Wendy Pedersen. “There aren’t enough shelter spaces for people to go to.”

“In addition,” said Pedersen, “If homeless people think they will be forced into shelters or jail for sleeping outside, they may decided to sleep in “out of the way places” that are more dangerous than sleeping where a lot of eyes are on the street. Women, especially, could be in more danger because of the proposed policy.”

“Some people have good reasons for not wanting to go to shelters,” added Pedersen. “When dozens of people sleep in one big room colds, flus and more serious diseases like pneumonia and TB are spread. Things get stolen.”

“If Housing Minister Coleman really wants to help homeless people, he should release funds to build more decent, self contained housing for them,” Pedersen concluded. “The province has a $250 million Housing Endowment Fund that it refuses to spend on social housing. This money is enough to put good housing on all 12 sites that the city has ready and waiting for funds from the provincial government.”


View Internal documents obtained and released by the BC Civil Liberties Association:

Other Media:
BC government to jail the homeless

by Harsha Walia

Vancouver Sun

Sept 21, 2009