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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cold Wet Shelter Finally

A Victory for the people.

After months of lobbying, City Council approved on Monday a grant of grant of $35,000 to have the extreme weather shelter open daily instead of just when the weather is deemed extreme. Shelter staying open for rest of winter. A huge thanx to mayor & council for seeing the benefit of this and acting upon it.

Kinda makes my last letter to the editor, Cold/wet weather facility needed for city published the same day, a bit moot but nice to see it anyway.

This is the culmination of a long effort, overall four years, and would not have happened without a coordinated approach this year by both Wallace Malay and myself. Wallace's in your face approach along with my skills in networking, lobbying etc. worked well together and as can be seen resulted in the desired outcome.

You will notice if you peruse the video, video council January 10 2011 (when it starts scroll to 3hrs14min10sec), of the meeting that the work Wallace and I did is not mentioned. I don't have a problem with that, don't get credit for many of the things I do and that is not why I do them regardless.

What I do have a problem with is certain council members patting themselves on the back and misleading the public when knowing full well that if Wallace and I had not made this a very public issue it would have been status quo. John Horn, our social planner is given kudoes by Merv Unger for the excellent work and extra hours he put in on this and yet he on a number of occasions was not overly enthusiastic about the Cold Weather format being implemented and in fact stated in an e-mail that council did not have a voice on this as it was not a rezoning issue.

It has certainly had its amusing moments, the above being one. Another; when what Wallace and I were trying to do was brought up at the last working group on Homelessness Meeting it was suggested by Allison Millward, former social planner now with VIHA's housing department, that a committee be formed to discuss the issue.

I really had to laugh at that as both Wallace and I could see the outcome being meeting upon meeting with nothing being accomplished. We told her and the working group sure no problem even though we fully intended to keep the pressure on the city to come up with the funding. We knew this to be the easiest and quickest way for funding to become available almost immediately and once secured the plan would be to work over the summer to get BC Housing to fund the shelter next year in a winter format as opposed to extreme weather format.

Intensly frustrating at times the success of our efforts on behalf of the homeless make doing this sort of thing worthwhile.

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