BC Housing colours outside the lines

When the 2010 Winter Olympic Games get underway, the Campbell administration won't just be showcasing Beautiful British Columbia. It will also be showcasing government programs that have been "undertaken to address the issue of homelessness" in Vancouver's "colourful" Downtown Eastside. This, according to a concept paper prepared by the Crown corporation responsible for the province's subsidized housing.

The paper, dated October 1, 2009 and obtained by Public Eye via a freedom of information request, proposes setting up an information centre for that very purpose. The reason: the issue of homelessness is of "particular interest to the media in every Olympic Host-City." And that means the "City of Vancouver - with its colourful Downtown Eastside - will be a draw for international visitors, especially the media."

So, rather than trying to "hide the issue of homelessness" like other host cities, "the Province and the City will be transparent - not just with our successes but also, how we are dealing with some of the challenges." But, despite that promised transparency, BC Housing blacked-out the majority of the paper before releasing it to Public Eye.

Those blacked out-section includes those detailing the centre's objectives, location, special features and pretty much anything else you'd want to know about it - all because the Crown corporation claims that information would reveal government "policy advice or recommendations." Nor was the British Columbia Housing Management Commission much more forthcoming when contacted directly.

A spokesperson said, "No decision has been yet on whether the information centre will be established."

But the spokesperson declined to provide further details or comment on the appropriateness of describing the Downtown Eastside as "colourful."

Provincial New Democrat housing and social development critic Shane Simpson, however, didn't hold back.

"For anybody who knows the Downtown Eastisde, they would know it's a probably disrespectful comment to suggest it's colourful," he said. "I think it almost seems to be an effort to diminish the seriousness of the problem (of homelessness) by using the term colourful."

As for the centre itself, Mr. Simpson said the proposal "smacks of a government that's looking for damage control strategies to deal with what has been a failed program around homelessness and dealing with the challenges around the Downtown Eastside."

The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned paper.

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Downtown Eastside Information Centre
Concept Paper

Background:

The world will be coming to Vancouver in February 2010 for the Olympics...and all eyes will be on Vancouver. Of particular interest to the media in every Olympic Host-City is the issue of homeless. The City of Vancouver - with its colourful Downtown Eastside - will be a draw for international visitors, especially the media..

There is a real opportunity for the Province and the City of Vancouver to develop an Information Centre to showcase the range of programs and services that have been undertaken to address the issues of homelessness. More importantly, it's an opportunity to tell stories of real people and how their lives are transforming because they have a clean and safe place to call home; and because of their improved environment, they are feeling better about themselves and are moving ahead with getting a job and other opportunities. While previous Olympic Host-Cities have tried to hide the issue of homelessness the Province and the City will be transparent - not just with our successes but also, how we are dealing with some of the challenges.

Desired Outcome: (s. 13)

Objectives:

* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)

Venue: (s. 13)

Key groups to involve in planning the development of the Centre:

* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)

Target Audience:

* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)

Primary Programs and Services to be highlighted:
Five key areas include
1) Housing
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
2) Mental Health and Addiction Programs (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
3) Community Court
4) Economic Development
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
5) Community Agencies/Non-Profits Groups
* (s. 13)

Considerations:
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)

Special Features at the Centre:
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)

Vehicles/Approaches:
(s.13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)

Internal Questions and Answers

1) (s.13)

2) (s. 13)

* (s. 13)
* (s. 13)

3) (s. 13)

* (s. 13)

4) (s. 13)

* (s. 13)

1 Comment

Okay, Sean the resident Polakite has a plan. A real plan!Being a libertarian, I don't need bureaucrappers or even worse pollsters or spokesholes. I also believe either you do or you don't - and that's being transparent. So what I would need is not "an information centre". What I need for my plan is some homes + some action because to quote the Hon. Sandra Pupatello, MPP & no slouch of a liberal: Delivering results - that's what matters.

So if there's not some place to make some housing, perhaps I will use some school buses at say 2300 Hours/9 PM that would otherwise just sit there and have them take these people to some land my team just bought - probably in the Fraser Valley which we will name after great B.C. leaders for liberty like Holman, Polak, Fraser, Popham, Stahl, Penner, Meredith, Campbell & Falcon - where until they build themselves housing with some help and recieve marketable skills they can live in tents. Anybody hear of Habitat For Humanity?!? BC ought to create the afterburner version - help these people help themselves as the actions speak louder & brighter than propaganda.

Perhaps also anybody think of ambushing these clusters of poverty with MCFD tac teams & workforce bureaucrats & drug treatment aides so they get the government coming to their bosses the people?!? So instead of people suffering in some glut of poverty while politicians politic and bureaucrats bureaucraticize, the people are prospering as their government attacks the problem from the front of the front lines to get these people some help??? Oh, bureaucracy - it's a longer synonym for lazy.

Now that is an information centre for you my friend - the plan that will show tangible results with real housing & workforce skills, real economic stimulus and real leadership. Nobody wants propaganda, daaah. Just do.

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