The hidden costs of homelessness

are high, according to a new report, summarized by Gordon Laird in the Toronto Star: According to a new report from the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, Shelter: Homelessness in a Growth Economy, homelessness is costing Canadian taxpayers $4.5 billion to $6 billion a year. Canada in 2007 collectively spends more managing homelessness than it spends on international […]

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Vancouver’s housing challenge

The story below was the banner headline piece on page one of today’s Vancouver Sun, and is a perfect choice for the “we told you so” file. Three years ago, after being awarded the 2010 Olympics, our BC Solutions Budget (and in subsequent editions) made many of the same points as the Olympics Housing Roundtable’s soon-to-be-released report. This report, and […]

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Three-quarters of a million homeless in USA

There is an astonishingly large underclass in the world’s richest nation: Gov’t estimates 754,000 homeless people By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press The nation has three-quarters of a million homeless people, filling emergency shelters through the year and spilling into special seasonal shelters in the coldest months, the government said Wednesday. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated there were […]

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Drug policy and maintenance programs

Vancouver is suffering from a plague of poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, mental health issues and crime. The good news is that all of these are inter-related, and that senior governments have the funds to make a difference. So with the Olympics coming is just three years, the political culture of neglect is showing signs of activism. Vancouver’s Mayor Sam Sullivan […]

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Housing first

The Globe and Mail is running a series on homelessness in BC (at least, in its BC edition). Mark Hume reiterates the case for supportive housing arrangements to get people off the streets into a place where they can stabilize their lives. It would be highly advisable for senior governments to get back into the housing game, as the market […]

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Time to raise welfare rates

SFU economist Jon Kesselman makes the links between rising homelessness and BC’s abysmal welfare rates in this commentary from the Vancouver Sun: A whole $6! Every day!   Imagine that you wake up each morning with six dollars burning a hole in your pocket. Let’s see: How might you spend your money? Maybe contemplate breakfast, a midday meal and supper […]

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What the homeless need …

are homes. I find Globe columnist on BC, Gary Mason, obnoxious much of the time, but in this two-column effort to come to grips with Vancouver and Victoria’s growing army of street people, he gets it right. Time to try a home remedy for the homeless … In a groundbreaking study 15 years ago, Prof. Culhane found that 80 per […]

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BC’s poverty amidst plenty

My latest column for The Tyee: Without any fanfare a report popped up on the web site of Human Resources and Social Development Canada this past month. No press release, no communications strategy at all. Just another statistical report on poverty in a society that thinks of itself as middle class. But this is not just another statistical report on […]

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Housing the Homeless and Addicted

The New York Times reports on a Seattle initiative to provide homes for homeless alcoholics. They do not require sobriety to get a spot, a development that rankles moralistic conservatives. The reason is economics: it costs less to house them than what is currently spent on health care, detox and criminal justice. New York and some other major US cities […]

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