NDP MLA Jenny Kwan asks Rich Coleman to help homeless in Oppenheimer Park

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      The NDP MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, Jenny Kwan, has written to the housing minister seeking "urgent assistance" for homeless campers in Oppenheimer Park.

      Kwan's letter to Rich Coleman, who's also deputy premier, points out that the campers have compiled a list of 40 homeless people living in the Downtown Eastside park.

      "To give you a glimpse of the make-up of the campers; they are singles, couples, men and women, seniors; some are individuals with disabilities or serious chronic illnesses; some have struggled with addiction," Kwan wrote. "There is an expectant woman who is expecting to deliver her baby later this year."

      (To read the full letter, click the "downloads" tab above.)

      Kwan, whose constituency includes Oppenheimer Park, stated in the letter that the campers are "seeking relative safety and support with and amongst each other".

      "There is no question that an effective approach to ending homelessness requires the partnership of all levels of government via a long term comprehensive strategy," she stated. "For the immediate present, I appeal to your Ministry to provide urgent assistance. Offers of secure, affordable, and appropriate housing would go a long way to ensuring the well-being of these constituents."

      She pointed out that one aboriginal man told her that "shelters remind some elders of their traumatic residential school experiences".

      To her, this indicates a need for "expanded culturally appropriate shelter facilities".

      Kwan also mentioned that some of the campers say temporary stays in shelters don't work for everyone.

      She closed her letter by saying she's "committed to working cooperatively in any way possible to ensure that individuals facing homelessness in our community are able to access housing in a timely manner".


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      Jul 25, 2014 at 8:06pm

      Jenny Kwan has no credibility at this point.


      Jul 25, 2014 at 9:15pm


      Alan Layton

      Jul 26, 2014 at 8:01am

      She's back from Disneyland I see.


      Jul 26, 2014 at 8:55am

      Maybe they could have used some of the money Jenny and her family used to go to Disneyland. That was supposed to be used for the homeless but instead went to fund her vacation.

      Jiminy Cricket

      Jul 26, 2014 at 10:02am

      When you wish upon a star
      Makes no diference who you are
      When you wish upon a star
      You pass the buck to Coleman.

      Ms. Kwan found out the hard way that's it's a small world after all.

      I remember

      Jul 26, 2014 at 11:13am

      when Jenny Kwan helped make the poorest people poorer, voting in favour of lowering welfare rates as a member of the Glen Clarke government.

      I remember why

      Jul 26, 2014 at 1:37pm

      They lowered welfare rates to afford a raise for teachers. Mr. Clark got personally involved in the negotiations despite the fact that his wife was a teacher.

      Dr. Jack

      Jul 26, 2014 at 2:00pm

      Is she back??

      I thought she is still playing Pluto at Disneyland!

      Or the wicked witch!!


      Jul 27, 2014 at 9:24pm

      Come on you guys. Jenny Kwan might not be the sharpest knife but she is consistently someone who has tried to do advocacy and support work in the DTES. She has uncritically absorbed the grotesque racialist aspect of that work - "culturally appropriate," forsooth - but it's more than you or I do.