Hon. Diane Finley
Minister responsible for
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Minister Finley,
I write to bring your attention to the urgent housing situation in Vancouver, as the city faces the loss of hundreds of emergency shelter beds on April 30, 2010.
Without immediate support, several Vancouver Homeless Emergency Action Team (HEAT) shelters will close at the end of this month, leaving a shortage of 500 beds in a region where the homeless population has grown by 12% since 2008.
The Vancouver Police have said that the shelters are “nothing short of a blessing” and directly attribute a reduction of crime to the availability of housing. The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association is also speaking in support of funding for the shelters as a benefit to the business community, reducing the number of people on the streets and problems with disorderly conduct.
The problems and long-term social and economic costs of shutting down emergency shelters in Vancouver are completely preventable. The Federal government has the resources and mandate under the Homelessness Partnering Strategy to “prevent and reduce homelessness across Canada”.
Given the urgency of this matter, I ask that you act swiftly to address this crisis situation and work with the provincial and municipal governments to keep these shelters open and to address the longer term issues of affordable housing in Vancouver.
Libby Davies, MP Vancouver East
Cc . Andrew Saxton, MP North Vancouver
Hon. Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development
Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver