Thursday, April 28, 2016

Homelessness Strategic Plan adopted, but action still needed

In 2008, the “Action Strategy for Addressing Homelessness” for Langley was released. Unfortunately, little action was actually taken. Skip forward to 2014. The number of people experiencing homelessness in Langley City continues to climb, and becomes an issue during that year’s fall municipal election.

Once the election was over, Langley City Council put together a Homelessness Reduction Taskforce. The main deliverable of the taskforce was the City of Langley Homelessness Strategic Plan.

Before a community can actually do any work, you first need a plan. The problem is that many governments are great at creating plans, but not so great at actually following through on those plans. The 2008 Action Strategy for Addressing Homelessness is the perfect example.

So is there anything different about the City of Langley’s new homelessnes reduction plan? One of the key differences is the Homelessness Action Table. This will be a sub-committee of the City of Langley’s Public Safety Advisory Committee. Ideally, the Action Table will be able to ensure that this new strategic plan results in action.

Of course, the City of Langley needs the support of both the provincial and federal governments to be able to move forward with the majority of strategies recommend in the new plan.

One of the strategies recommended in the plan to accomplish getting federal and provincial support is the creation of a Fraser Valley Homelessness Table. This could be a forum for all local governments in the Fraser Valley to lobby both the province and feds. In addition, I believe that the City of Langley must become involved with Metro Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Strategy which I posted about yesterday.

The new Homelessness Strategic Plan was adopted on Monday. Over the next year, it will be critical for both homelessness action tables to be setup and putting forward recommendations to Council.

While the City of Langley cannot reduce homelessness in our community on its own, we can be strong advocates for action. People experiencing homelessness in Langley City is still on the rise, inaction is not an option.

The City of Langley has setup a section of its website with more information about the Homelessness Strategic Plan. There you can review all 19 recommendations.

I, and I'm sure others on Council, will be monitoring the progress of the various action committees closely. I believe reducing homeless, and the number of people at risk of experiencing homelessness, is critically important for the future success of Langley City.

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