“What this is doing is demonstrating our commitment, and forming a partnership with the provincial government.” Clr. Suzanne Anton, March 14, 2007
“Anton charged that city housing set up for the homeless is not even going for the homeless – charging that just 144 of 388 new tenants moving into social housing are actually street homeless”. The Province, October 16, 2001
Flip-flopper, hypocrite; that’s all been established. So here’s a new question; how low will Anton go in her quixotic mayoral campaign? After all she’s being advised by Toronto ruffian Rob Ford’s campaign advisors and there is no apparent bottom for him.
Anton flipped again last weekend, to claim that Vision Vancouver is responsible for the way new social housing units are allocated in Vancouver, saying the allocation has failed to reduce homelessness.
But Anton is suffering from selective memory loss.
Under an agreement with the Province made by the Sam Sullivan NPA Council and supported by Anton, all unit allocations are made by the Provincially run BC Housing Office.
The reasons for that are two-fold: BC Housing put up the majority of the money for construction and operation while the city put up the land, and BC Housing has the infrastructure to connect those in need of housing with actual available units.
Anton was effusive when the deal was signed in 2007: “What this is doing is demonstrating our commitment, and forming a partnership with the provincial government.” she said.
The best you can say is Anton has, once again flip-fopped. She signed on to it and now she’s hoping no one examines her duplicity. But this is looking more and more like a desperate, ‘do anything, say anything’ struggle for the NPA’s survival as a party.
There’s another thing Anton knows. Just because someone isn’t actually sleeping on the streets doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be housed in units meant to reduce homelessness.
Anyone remotely familiar with mental health and addiction knows that there is a revolving door between the street, shelters and hospital wards. To see it in action visit the emergency ward at St. Paul’s after midnight on a Saturday night.
Someone on the streets who is admitted to hospital isn’t labeled homeless when they are released. But they aren’t about to go out and rent an apartment or buy a $700,000 condo. But they are likely to become homeless again. That is unless a social housing unit was made available to them.
Anton alo knows how this works. She’s just choosing to forget what she knows to serve her political purpose.
And what’s that purpose? To attack a Vision homeless program that is working. For the first time in a decade there are fewer homeless people in Vancouver because there are more shelter beds and more housing units.
She’s flip-flopped on bike lanes, on casino expansion, on the NPA’s Olympic Village disaster and now on homelessness.
Is there anything left that she or the NPA believes in?
A version of this story appears on the Vancouver Observer