Find out where the Port Coquitlam candidates stand on . . . homelessness

file photo Jeremy Shepherd

In 2013, approximately 46 percent of housing sales in Metro Vancouver were considered affordable. In a span of five years, that figured dropped to 18 percent, according to a housing needs report produced by Urban Matters.

With housing costs rising faster than wages, we asked candidates for their thoughts on homelessness in Port Coquitlam.

Is Port Coquitlam doing enough for the city’s homeless population? If not, what should the next council do?

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Erik Minty

I support the pending review of the management at 3030 Gordon. The way it has been managed creates far too severe an impact to the nearby communities. I support the principle of a “housing first” approach that provides the necessary supports to help people find their way out of poverty traps.

Jami Watson

This is important to me, and one that requires much more time and space.

I always believed that we were doing a lot do to our Raincity shelter located on Gordon avenue.

But due to the crisis Downtown Eastside and the recent removal of homeless people that took place a few weeks ago, numbers of available beds per city were released. If you look at the amount of beds that Port Coquitlam offers on a provincial scale up against other cities, our numbers are poor. I am a huge fan of the RainCity Housing program and will work closely with them if elected.

Nancy McCurrach (incumbent)

We as a society can always do more to lend a hand to those in need. Recently a new $877 thousand grant has been approved funded by the province for Port Coquitlam and Port Moody that is earmarked for expanding outreach services and shelter at night, mental health and other much needed wrap around services including housing to help support those most vulnerable. The next council needs to work on implementing this funding source and getting the homeless people the support they need.

Steve Darling (incumbent)

It’s about time the provincial government step up to provide funding so our city can do more. Bylaw officers & city staff are some of the most compassionate people and have been directly responsible for helping to get people off the street and into permanent housing. Our city has a help first protocol.

Mithila Karnik

We need to take stock of the homeless population in Port Coquitlam and engage in a “tricities” action plan to ensure there are always options available to the population that calls the tricities home. Homelessness and a compassionate and concrete response towards it needs a larger action plan.

Cindy Carkner

We can always do more. As a community we need to do our part in addressing a problem that is all over Metro Vancouver. We need to treat them with understanding, compassion, and empathy. We need to provide shelter so they’re safe, and food so they can function.

Darrell Penner (incumbent)

Homelessness is and will be an on going problem as long as the Provincial and Federal governments do very little to help.They collect the taxes to deal with this ,municipalities don’t .However creating non-market housing for those own want help is what we are doing.

Dawn Becker

Homelessness is such an important issue. I do not know all what the City may be doing. I know the Tri-Cities task force and the provincial government are taking steps to address this issue. There are complex reasons why people are homeless and those reasons need to be addressed.

Glenn Pollock (incumbent)

I don’t think any level of Government is doing enough to combat homelessness. I am encouraged though by the recent announcement by MLA David Eby that if he’s selected as the leader of the BC NDP and thus Premier he’ll make sweeping changes to increase housing and decrease homelessness.

Justin Alexander Smith

As long as homelessness exists in our society, there is more work to be done. I think looking at Surrey’s Car 67 program (as discussed in the Dispatches informative article) would be a good start. Homelessness is a systemic issue that needs to be tackled on every level of government.

Paige Petriw

No, we need to do far more. Not only do we need shelters and programs to help our homeless population find a place to live, we also need a much better strategy for homelessness prevention. This includes better resources and programs for mental health, substance use, accessibility, inclusion, domestic violence, vulnerable children and youth, and more.

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