Wednesday, February 4, 2015

City of Langley to launch Homelessness Task Force

Being the compact, urban centre of Langley, the City of Langley is home to many of the support services needed to help people who are dealing with issues of poverty, substance abuse, and domestic violence in both the City and Township of Langley.

The City of Langley is also home to the only homeless shelter in Langley, and has a higher concentration of lower-incoming housing than the Township of Langley. Because Langley City is an accessible, walkable community, it is also home to a larger population of seniors than other communities. Some of these seniors live in poverty, and some are homeless.

It should come as no surprise that when people are marginalized, and a community doesn’t have all the resources needed to address the complex issues surrounding marginalization, crime rates go up. Police officers start to become the social workers of the community.

As I posted about last week, the policing budget in the City of Langley has ballooned in the last decade or so. Police should not be the social workers of our community; a comprehensive, inclusive plan needs to be developed that addresses dealing with the root causes of poverty and marginalization in the community.

This is why I’m happy that the City of Langley is proceeding with the creation of a Homelessness Task Force. The task force will study this complex issue, and make recommendations on how to address this multifaceted issue.

Helping to bring people out of homeless, including seniors, will take the support of all levels of government and non-profit community groups.

With this is mind, I was a bit shocked to see that, when reading the minutes of the January 26 City of Langley Council meeting, newly elected “Councillor van den Broek stated she does not support the expenditure of $35,000 to determine what the problem is.”

Getting a complete picture and an understanding of the issues around homeless, and what can be done to lift people out of poverty, is critical if the City hopes to address this issue.

Lifting people out of poverty creates a heather, more productive community. It will also reduce policing costs.

At the same time, the City of Langley is also moving forward with a “more grass-roots” Community Crime Prevention Task Force. It will be interesting to see what their recommendations will be.


Dave hall said...

Hi Nathan - You are correct that the whole community must address the issues of both poverty and homelessness. However, in defence of newly elected councillor Van den Broek, you have mis-stated her position. She was not opposed to the creation of the task force, the assembly of persons with a stake and expertise in the search for solutions. Her contention was that the $35,000 might be better spent on potential implementation than on a "consultant" who would "facilitate" the discussions. Staff contended that the City did not have the "expertise" to do this.I asked the question why was there not a similar Capital funding anticipating moving forward on the second public safety task force recommendations and received this as a reply.Val's point was that perhaps "facilitation" doesn't demand expertise, the experts assembled already have this.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder what 'expertise' the city has? I can't think of any on any matter. I feel like every step they've made since the election has been a blunder for residents.