City council may retain components of ex-mayor Sam Sullivan’s Project Civil City that are turning out to be helpful in addressing homelessness, according to Vision Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang.
One of these is support for the Streetohome Foundation, a private-sector group whose formation was led by Civil City commissioner Geoff Plant to channel charitable fundraising toward housing-related initiatives.
The foundation is part of what Mayor Gregor Robertson and Premier Gordon Campbell announced last month as an “unprecedented partnership between the province, the City of Vancouver, and the private sector” to provide $1.5 million to create 200 temporary shelter beds in Vancouver.
Another successful component of Project Civil City is the Collaboration for Change, a group that brings government and nonprofit agencies together to work on issues of housing, mental health, and addiction care.
Jang is reviewing Project Civil City, and he acknowledged that it has “produced some good collaborations”.
“Streetohome has demonstrated its ability to raise money and work,” Jang told the Straight. “And so these are the things that have to be preserved and strengthened because they’re working.”
Streetohome Foundation board member John MacKay is one of the 13 members of Robertson’s Homelessness Emergency Action Team. Jang, a UBC psychiatry professor, serves as HEAT’s council liaison.
The Collaboration for Change, Jang said, is “developing relationships between the province and the city”.
“I’m carefully looking at what is worth saving, and I’m working with staff on that now,” Jang said, adding that Plant’s contract runs until May this year.
For his part, Plant told the Straight that a lot of what Robertson intends to do is “consistent with some of the themes of Project Civil City, particularly the idea of finding sustainable solutions to the problems that face homeless people”.
“What I have said to the mayor is that I would welcome the opportunity to continue to be of assistance to the city in any way that he or council or the administration might want to have me help,” said Plant, a former B.C. attorney general. “The question of whether or not there’s a role for me in that is a question for the mayor and council.”