As many as 300 homeless people, largely from the Downtown Eastside, are to be moved off the streets and into housing next summer as part of a project by the Mental Health Commission of Canada that will have the side effect of helping clear the poverty stricken area before the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The Globe and Mail has learned that the three-year project is part of a five-city effort first announced in this year’s federal budget. There has never been any explicit link to the Olympics, which are expected to bring global attention to the Vancouver region that includes Canada’s poorest postal code.
But the timing of the effort and some early details, disclosed to The Globe in a briefing, could have an impact on the homeless situation in the neighbourhood - a 10-block area where open drug dealing and use occurs.
“People who are currently very visible in the Downtown Eastside and other areas of Vancouver, who have mental health and addiction issues, will be offered housing through rent subsidies primarily, and will be offered a different kind of service than they currently have access to*,” said Paula Goering, a lead researcher for the commission’s project.
*the current service being go fuck yourself
Hey, homeless people that we’ve ignored for at least a decade, get the fuck in these temporary houses we’ve set up for you while we pretend to care. Oh your rent subsidy expires at the end of the 2010 fiscal year? Whoops! And by whoops, we mean ha ha ha ha ha.