Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Prince Rupert not included in new initiative for the homeless

One wonders what it is going to take to gain the attention of the provincial government over the homeless situation in Northwest BC.

Despite the high profile that the issue has received and the reported efforts of the last city council to try and to bring our situation to the attention of the province, when it comes to cutting a cheque it seems that Rupert has missed the cut.

As can be seen from the small selection of past Podunkian articles below, the issue has been a long running one in the city which still generates much concern on the local scene.

And with that small review serving as our reminder, it's a tad disappointing to learn that when it comes to homelessness, Prince Rupert apparently is still not on the provincial radar.

Five BC communities were announced today as having been selected to take part in this homeless initiative, as Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria, Kelowna and Prince George were all named today as the debut members of the Homelessness Intervention Project.

It will be designed to bring an integrated approach to the issue for the number of government agencies, health agencies and non profit organizations as well as other groups that advocate for the homeless. Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman has been tapped by the Premier to be the lead minister on the project to ensure that the necessary services are delivered to those that need them.

The first priority for the new umbrella group will be to provide assistance for the chronically homeless, particularly those with addictions and mental health issues.”

That has been a target group long identified in Prince Rupert as in need of some form of assistance on the local front, yet thus far not much has been outlined as far as a targeted plan to put their needs on the front burner.

You have to hope that there may be some left over funding available for the rest of the province, so those that are living outside of the target cities will also be considered for some form of assistance. Hopefully the current city council will renew the commitment to the issue for the city of Prince Rupert and continue to express their frustration at the province's rather lethargic approach to the problem.

After all, the need is not limited to just selected areas of the province, in fact there is just as much need to be found outside of the five big cities. Places that seem to attract the most attention whenever elections get to be around the corner.

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