Vancouver Seeks to Avoid Tragedy, Make Shelters More Practical

Homeless people may avoid seeking help or services because there is a lack of space secure their belongings in shelters. The death of a homeless woman in Vancouver last winter highlights the severity of the problem.
November 4, 2009, 8am PST | Alek Miller
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"When British Columbia Housing Minister Rich Coleman last week introduced the Assistance to Shelter Act, he said the legislation would 'help to prevent tragedies such as the one that occurred last winter when a woman died trying to keep warm in a makeshift shelter.'"

"Of about 25 homeless shelters in Vancouver, only three – the remaining facilities from a group of five HEAT (Homeless Emergency Action Team) sites set up late last year – officially accommodate carts.

For critics of the legislation, the cart issue highlights concerns that the law, while well-intentioned, may result in some homeless people avoiding police and outreach workers out of fear they could lose their belongings."

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Published on Sunday, November 1, 2009 in The Globe and Mail
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