Rich Coleman Has a Home; How Many Thousands Don’t?

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There seems to be a debate about how many homeless people there are in BC right now. 5,000 up to 15,000?

At any rate, quite a few.

Rich Coleman, minister responsible for homelessness, however is happy to have a home. I don’t begrudge him being able to afford a home. I just wish he’d do more for the many thousands who cannot enjoy all of what he does.

Minister Coleman’s Facebook page tonight [above] has this juicy little bit [a close-up of the above page]:

In The Tyee you can read the debate about numbers. And my freedom of information requests to BC Housing about their definition of and methodology for counting the homeless may be instructive, whenever they arrive. Even if we go with Coleman’s sad, low number, we read in The Tyee that the government isn’t interested in addressing the needs of more than 1/3 of them.

I know from an ideological standpoint, the Campbell neoLiberal government doesn’t like social housing; nor does Vancouver’s NPA. That communitarian response undermines the market approach of worshiping market housing and just providing grants to some needy [and able to jump through administrative hoops] folks, leaving many of the desperate shivering under overpasses and such.

While there may be a myriad of hidden assistance programs [not that the government is interested in making it hard to apply for assistance for things!], BC Housing’s Rental Assistance Program requires you to have some income from employment to get rental assistance as well as a dependent child under 19 and be regularly filing income tax returns: not conditions that apply to everyone on the street tonight.

I wonder if Coleman’s “it won’t last” is some cosmic, karmic omen…

Happy winter, everyone!

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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