Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 29, 2017 Council Meeting Notes: Moving forward to reduce homelessness in our communities, and Local Government Awareness Day

At last night’s Langley City council meeting, there were only a few items on the agenda. Some councillors were on their way to the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference in Ottawa, and were not at the meeting.

At the end of April, grade 4 and 5 students from Langley City schools visited City Hall to learn about local government. The City has a “Getting to Know the City of Langley” guide which is distributed to students. Besides learning about local government, students also participated in a sponsored poster contest. Veronica Bryson from Nicomekl Elementary won the contest, and free lunch for her entire class as a result. Mayor Schaffer presented a certificate for winning the contest to Veronica at the council meeting. More information about Local Government Day and the contest can be found on the Langley City website.

Mayor Schaffer presenting a certificate to Veronica Bryson. Select image to enlarge.

Later during the meeting, council gave final reading to a zoning amendment bylaw for a small section of former lane near Park Avenue and 204 Street. Council also approved a request for Graham Flack who is the Deputy Director of Corporate Services to attend the Unit4 Connect Conference this year. Unit4 produces the software the City uses for financial and resource management.

Langley City adopted a Homelessness Strategic Plan last year. One of the key recommendations from that plan was to create a Homeless Action Table (HAT) with representation from local governments, the provincial government, federal government, social service agencies, and faith-based organizations in our community. The Homelessness Action Table’s first meeting was held on May 17th.

The mandate of the Action Table is to ensure that the recommendations made in the strategic plan are implemented. The current strategies that the Action Table are working on included:

Form a Homelessness Integration Team
Work with the Intensive Case Management (ICM) team to formulate a partnership between the ICM team and the HIT. This partnership will allow the parties to identify client-specific barriers to success and collectively identify solutions to respond. Participating members may consider using BC Housing’s Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT) or other client assessment tools. As an extension of this strategy, HIT could collaborate with the RCMP and Bylaw officers to respond to police/Bylaw calls related to persons experiencing homelessness.

Create a partnership agreement between the City and Township
HAT, through City Council, invite the Township to formally participate as a member of the HAT.

Support the feasibility study for a permanent supportive housing project
Advocate to BC Housing and Fraser Health for a permanent supportive housing project.

Increase the number of rent supplements in the Langley
Advocate to BC Housing to increase the rent supplements and the numbers of rent supplements.

Support the feasibility of developing a Youth Safe House
Support the new Youth Resource Centre and continue to advocate for a Youth Safe House.

Support integrated intervention approaches to health and housing
Work with the Intensive Case Management (ICM) team to formulate a partnership between the ICM team and the HIT to facilitate better integration between health and housing services. This includes employing teams to address issues related to hoarding, bed bugs and other health and housing related issues and supporting these efforts by making information and training available to social service providers, housing providers, outreach teams and other teams (e.g. Homelessness Integration Team).

Forming a partnership with the Township of Langley is key, and council passed the following motion last night:

WHEREAS the Homelessness Action Table (HAT) is an advisory coalition of various levels of government, social service agencies and faith based organizations dedicated to discussing homelessness issues in Langley and making recommendations on actions aligned with the Homelessness Strategic Plan; and

WHEREAS the Langley City Homelessness Action Table provides an opportunity to facilitate collaboration and partnership between community based agencies and the City and Township of Langley to implement Langley’s Homelessness Strategic Plan;

THAT a letter be sent to the Township of Langley inviting a member of their Council to sit on Langley City’s Homelessness Action Table.

Homelessness doesn’t respect municipal borders, and it will take all governments working together to reduce homelessness in our region.

No comments: