Mayor Kennedy Stewart proposes $30-million recommendation to help Vancouver homeless

VANCOUVER — Mayor Kennedy Stewart wants councillors to support a multimillion-dollar proposal to help those who are homeless in Vancouver during the pandemic.

Stewart has released a recommendation to council seeking as much as $30 million to buy or lease land in the city and pay for other services to provide emergency relief for people without homes.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart speaks during a press conference in Vancouver on July 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A statement from the mayor’s office says the recommendation builds on the findings of a staff report, which concluded that the lease or purchase of vacant apartment complexes, commercial hotels and other buildings is the only viable way to quickly address the needs of the homeless.

Stewart’s recommendation also says he will continue to seek provincial and federal funds to support his plan.

It’s expected council will consider the recommendation at a special meeting on Thursday.

Stewart says councillors must have the “courage and conviction” to act quickly to help hundreds who are living on the street or in tents in city parks.

“To date, I have worked with the provincial and federal governments to secure millions in housing investments for Vancouver, but COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge and we must rise to the occasion,” he says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press