Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Councillor Thorkelson expresses frustration over ongoing issues of homelessness in Prince Rupert

Councillor Thorkelson outlined
her growing frustration with
BC Housing on homelessness
in Prince Rupert 
A good portion of Monday evening's thirty five minute City Council session was used by Council members to examine ongoing housing issues in the community.

With City Councillor Joy Thorkelson using her time to review some of her frustrations with BC Housing, upper levels of Government and the housing situation in the community, in particular the fate of some residents who once lived at the Neptune Inn.

Following a short review by the Mayor on the upcoming Go Plan survey, Councillor Thorkelson noted that the City will also be conducting an affordable housing survey at that time, in order to gauge the nature of the housing situation in the community.

She offered up some observations regarding the regional situation that has found other communities of the Northwest sending their homeless residents to Prince Rupert to try and find accommodation as housing options dwindle in those communities.

A practice that she hopes to learn more about when the City delegation heads to Terrace for a Housing conference in June.

She then turned her attention towards a review of the status of some of the former residents of the Neptune Inn who were forced to leave their accommodations when that housing location closed. Expressing a great amount of frustration at their situation, as they are soon to be moved from their temporary accommodation and have no location to be moved to.

She noted that in the weeks since the Neptune closed, some of those former tenants have been sleeping outdoors in areas of the city, with the police coming to move them on from where they have set up.

She also expressed her disappointment with BC Housing, which she says has not been of any help to those relocated out of the Neptune.

At one point, she observed that one option for those that have been forced onto the streets might before them to perhaps stay in the lobby of the hospital as a last recourse, in order to engage Northern Health into the issue.

She urged Council to push BC Housing, as well as the upper levels of government on the need to step up and address the ongoing issues of housing in the community.

Recounting for Council a recent appearance by BC Housing officials, noting that they had stated that they would not be adding to the housing stock.  Adding that in her opinion, that there is clearly a problem with the grant and subsidy program that they mentioned at that time.

She also passed along concerns she has heard of other apartment buildings and hotels in the city planning to close for renovations, putting those tenants out on the streets.

She spoke to the issue further, stating that it's something that Council has to address, offering up a motion that would have the City write to the Province and Federal ministers involved with housing, offering an outline of the current situation and to seek the assistance of the upper levels government on the issue of housing in the community.

The Mayor noted that the Go Plan initiative that the City is about to move forward, is designed to provide some information on the issue to better address the problems that have developed, adding that if there is any economic development related to LNG the situation may become amplified significantly.

Council then voted in favour of Councillor Thorkelson's motion to write to the provincial and federal officials.

You can review her notes on the situation through the City's Video Archive it runs from the 17 minute mark until the 31 minute point.

For more items related to Housing issues see our archive page here.

For further background on the discussion points at City Council see our Discussion page here.

1 comment:

  1. Increased costs have meant increased taxes. Supply and demand has meant increase rents. What does anyone expect? Cut firefighters? Eliminate the airport ferry? privatize cityworks ? Sell citywest? develop industrial land? Expect city management or council to make hard decisions? Blame other levels of governments? Move?