David Ibby promises swift and decisive action on homelessness as British Columbia’s premier

by admin
David Ibby promises swift and decisive action on homelessness as British Columbia’s premier
David Ibby promises swift and decisive action on homelessness as British Columbia’s premier


David Ibby, the man most likely to succeed John Horgan as British Columbia’s premier, says under his leadership the province will do what it takes to address the ongoing homelessness crisis facing cities like Vancouver.

Eby said that in places like Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, there has been a lack of coordination between the province and the city.

“I think it’s the province that needs to step up and take responsibility and accountability for the neighborhood,” he said. “I think we’re past the point where the city can respond, and I think it’s going to be up to the province.”

The comments from one of the province’s most vocal housing advocates come as officials continue to remove tents and structures from the sidewalk on one of the city’s busiest streets in its poorest neighborhood.

In July, the Vancouver Fire Department ordered the immediate removal of tents and structures along East Hastings due to safety concerns in the Downtown Eastside.

The dismantling of yet another tent camp in the city has led to violence between police and residents and confusion over where displaced people should go.

Eby has long worked on homelessness as a lawyer at Pivot Legal Society and as executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) before entering politics.

He has been British Columbia’s attorney general since he was elected in 2017 in the Vancouver-Point Gray area, and for the past year and a half he has been the minister responsible for housing.

During his time as Minister of Housing, Ibi developed a reputation for intervening in local town halls over housing projects when he saw them stalled or stalled, sometimes coming into direct conflict with local leaders.

He relinquished those portfolios last month when he announced he would seek the leadership of the BC NDP after John Horgan announced he would step down this fall once a successor is chosen.

For now, with only one other candidate running against him, Eby looks poised to become the next prime minister before the general election on or before October 19, 2024.

In a nearly 30-minute interview at Vancouver’s Strathcona Park, a former tent camp site, CBC host Stephen Quinn early edition, pressed Eby on the seemingly intractable problem of housing some of the province’s most vulnerable people and the resulting camps.

“The idea that someone comes on a cruise ship and gets off and that’s what they see from Vancouver, I think we’re all ashamed of that, let alone the people who are actually living on the streets in those conditions,” he said.

People are photographed in East Hastings in the Downtown Eastside neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“The province will and must lead”

Eby said he remains adamant the problem can be solved, but only with all levels of government, advocates and community organizations working together. He said there is a lack of coordination right now and he will use his experience in the Downtown Eastside to bring people together.

“One of the unique things I bring to the table in terms of my leadership is a little bit of history in the neighborhood, still some connections in the neighborhood,” he said.

“It’s going to take some focused effort and I think the province will and should lead that and will if I’m successful in my bid.”

Eby was critical of the city of Vancouver, which he said often has complicated approval processes for building temporary modular or permanent housing that can be quickly built.

“We need that sense of urgency from the city, and I think we can get it, but I think the province is going to have to convene it.”

A tented camp at CRAB Park in Vancouver, taken in April 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

This week, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said “cities can’t do it alone” to house people displaced from the East Hastings encampment and called for more provincial and federal help.

Eby said as prime minister he will take action to speed up the replacement of Vancouver’s single-room occupancy (SRO) housing, much of which is in poor condition and a factor in people choosing to live in camps rather than S.R.O.

The city says in a report that as of 2019, there were 6,680 open SRO rooms in 157 SRO buildings.

Eby is also committed to doing more as Prime Minister to implement health support for people suffering from illness, both mental and physical, which can be a barrier to appropriate accommodation.

“There are a lot of people on the street who are seriously ill and have appropriate responses, whether it’s outpatient services or something where they have to spend some time in a hospital or a care facility or a supportive environment where they can actually have a chance , instead of just letting them overdose multiple times and then die on the street.”


Source link

You may also like