Gregor Robertson responds to lawsuit against city: "Being homeless is not a crime"
Vancouver's mayor has responded to a constitutional challenge filed by a formerly homeless Vancouver man against city restrictions against sleeping outside. Here is Gregor Robertson's statement:
Today a lawsuit was apparently filed against the City regarding portions of the City’s Street and Traffic Bylaw, Parks Control Bylaw, and City Land Use Regulation. Although I have not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on the specifics of the case, I want to address a number of issues.
Being homeless is not a crime. I have asked the City Manager and Chief of Police, once they have reviewed the details of the lawsuit, to provide me with current information on bylaw tickets issued to people who may be homeless. The City is committed to ensuring that our bylaws are enforced appropriately and are not punishing those who are homeless.
Our goal with all bylaws is to strike a balance, and they should not be punitive towards vulnerable citizens. This is why I personally made it a priority when first elected to eliminate the previous administration’s Project Civil City. We want to strike a balance between helping and protecting our most vulnerable citizens while ensuring all members of the public can fairly use and access our public spaces. We will await the outcome of the court process, and if there are adjustments that need to be made, we will do so.