Vision Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang says he’s getting strong encouragement from “not just the NDP but also other parties” to seek a seat in the legislative assembly.
The UBC psychiatry professor indicated that he’s taking a couple of months to make up his mind about whether he wants to go this route or seek reelection in this year’s November municipal election.
“The question for me has always been ”˜How can I move forward the agenda of housing, homelessness, and mental health most effectively?’ ” Jang told the Straight in a phone interview. “There’s the provincial realm, where people say you can do it, but we’re also doing it well at the municipal level.”
Jang—the Vision caucus’s go-to person on the issues of housing, mental illness, and addictions—cited a number of things the current city administration has accomplished since the 2008 election.
These include securing provincial funding and getting construction under way at 14 supportive-housing sites. Jang also mentioned the opening of Dunsmuir House, a 166-unit, medium-term interim-housing facility. Another is the At Home joint project with the Mental Health Commission of Canada at the Bosman hotel, where 100 of Vancouver’s hardest-to-house people are receiving treatment and accommodation.
Jang also said the city has launched an urban health initiative that involves providing health services in homeless shelters.
“People say, ”˜You got to stick around because you got to finish it off, because you’ve just made headway,’ ” said Jang, a long-time member of the NDP. “But at the provincial level, people are telling me, ”˜While you’ve made great headway, one way of really making sure what you’ve done goes beyond the city is to go provincial.’ ”