Ending homelessness in ten years — that’s the goal of a new region-wide plan that relies on capacity building, housing, prevention and support. And, the City of Maple Ridge has convened a Homelessness Solutions Task Force to develop their approach.
Working Groups Seek Real World Solutions
Since forming in early 2015, with a core group of 2 councillors and the mayor, the task force has been drawing on expert advice in several key areas.
“We don’t want to just talk about the problem,” says Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read. “We want to actually see some kind of resolution.”
The various working groups have uncovered issues and possible actions, such as police bike patrols, removal of derelict buildings, and extending hours of mental health outreach services.
“The task force is there to make sure that as a community we take care of people in need, because we have residents that are deeply concerned about safety and property crime.”
The Alouette Heights building is a positive example as it provides affordable housing and support services.
“We need to be looking at the individual to figure out what is a strategy for that person,’ says Read. “To help them and give them the support that they need to repair their circumstances and get healthy.”
Homeless Count Tallies Impact Across Metro Region
In the 2014 regional homeless count, 84 people were counted in Ridge Meadows, and almost half — 44% — of unsheltered individuals were in municipalities other than Vancouver.
“A lot of people associate homelessness with the Downtown Eastside,” says Sandy Burpee, Chair of the Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness.
“But there is homelessness distributed throughout the Metro Vancouver region. I think really a regional response to homelessness is the only way that we are going to be able to make a significant impact on homelessness in Metro Vancouver.”
The Maple Ridge Task Force will move into its implementation phase through 2015.
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