29 06 2009

By: Hannah Kim

Now that we’ve identified the Tri-Cities as the geographical area we will be focusing on, what actions do we need to take to tackle the homelessness issue there?

On a high level, we will be unleashing our talents as SFU Business students to:

  • Create greater awareness & dialogue about homelessness in Metro Vancouver
  • Demonstrate and encourage empathy for the homeless
  • Mobilize the Metro Vancouver community to bring about social change

In other words, it may be valuable to examine the 2009 Strategic Plan by the Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Group and identify action items that have not been fully achieved yet. These actions that could be categorized into 1) Comprehensive Housing Strategy, 2) Support Services including employment assistance, 3) Cross-Sector Collaboration and 4) Advocacy & PR, may offer opportunities for us to make a significant impact.

To start developing a novel solution to the homelessness issue in the Tri-Cities, some key questions to ask are:

  • What are the root causes?
  • Why hasn’t the problem been solved so far?
  • What are some best practices we can look to from around the world? (E.g. Large housing facilities such as the 160-unit building in Portland, Oregon funded by a multimillion-dollar bond issue to end homelessness in 10 years)
  • How can we get funding and key decision-makers involved in solving the issue?
  • What do the homeless want and need for themselves?

To help find answers to the above questions, we will need to contact and collaborate with homeless advocacy and related non-profit organizations/NGO’s, such as Sandy Burpee, chair of the Tri-City Housing Coalition and co-chair of the Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Force. Through these organizations, we would also be able to speak directly to some of the homeless in the Tri-Cities about their experiences and perceptions on the gaps that are not being filled to resolve homelessness in Metro Vancouver. Further, we need to contact the government sector such as local MLA’s or city councils, as well as local entrepreneurs involved in the homelessness issue.




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