Judy Graves is running for Vancouver city council.
The long-time advocate for the homeless will run on a ticket for OneCity, a relatively new political party that in 2014 unsuccessfully fielded one candidate for council in Vancouver’s last municipal election.
As things stand today, Graves has only announcing her intention to seek the party’s nomination, but her high-profile standing makes her success there all but a sure thing.
She’ll very likely go on to compete in a civic by-election that’s tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2017.
That election will be held to fill a seat left vacant by Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs. Meggs recently took a position with the provincial government as incoming premier John Horgan’s chief of staff.
From 2010 to 2013, Graves was employed by the City of Vancouver as its official advocate for the homeless. Before that, she worked as its tenant-assistance coordinator. For more than three decades, Graces has been spotted walking Vancouver streets, often by herself and late at night, offering a helping hand to anybody she finds there in need of assistance.
In January 2014, the city recognized Graves’ lifetime efforts in support of homeless people with the Freedom of the City award, its top honour.
“Throughout her 33-year career with the City of Vancouver, Judy Graves cultivated caring connections with people living on the streets and in shelters, and served as a tireless advocate on behalf of those marginalized by homelessness,” a city website reads. “Graves approached her work in a deeply personal way, walking the streets of Vancouver in all kinds of weather and at all hours of the night, reaching out to people living on the streets and listening to their stories, while helping them navigate the delicate process of rebuilding their lives.”
Ahead of the fall by-election to fill Megg’s city council position, there’s a grassroots campaign that’s calling for Jean Swanson to run for the seat.
Swanson is one of the very few people in Vancouver whose advocacy work for affordable housing and the homeless can be compared to that of Graves’. In June 2016, she was awarded the Order of Canada.
A Facebook page created in support of Swanson is attracting chatter online but so far she has not declared an intent to run.