Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gary Korpan - Homelessness Position

Homelessness Position

Canadians, all Canadians, deserve safe, secure shelter. It is essential for quality living and fulfilling a productive life.

Some of our fellow citizens have become homeless for many reasons, including drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, and poverty. Intense public initiatives have led to diverse efforts to solve, or reduce homelessness.

Much effort by our citizens, community partners, and the current and past City Councils, on behalf of all Nanaimo, has been made to partner with government, non-profits, and private parties to improve services and resources to combat homelessness.

As a four-year member of the Premier's Task Force on Homelessness, I support using the medically appropriate methods and public health initiatives the BC government determines effective in fighting homelessness.

I am grateful for, and support, the years of research, countless volunteer hours, and multiple participants who worked to produce Nanaimo's Homelessness Strategy and Plan.

While homelessness may only be visible in some locations, it damages our whole community. We have a responsibility to work co-operatively to fix it as a community.

Once the Uplands site contract tender, set by BC, is awarded in early November, and all project details are available, I support ongoing full disclosure for the proposed facilities, services, and resources at open public meetings, so everyone can hear the same thing at the same time, ask pertinent questions, and judge for themselves if adequate safety and security is provided. Not just for the housed homeless, but for their prospective neighbours as well. Nothing will change until there is trust and there can be no trust without full disclosure, or if questions go unanswered, or lies are circulated without challenge.

Failure to act on homelessness while we have the assistance offered by senior government will only make a bad situation worse. I am confident most Nanaimoites want to work together to resolve this now.

Gary Korpan


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