A panel made up of (from left): MLA Mary Polak, MP John Aldag, City of Langley Mayor Ted Schaffer and Langley RCMP Supt. Murray Power hosted an October forum to discuss the issue of homelessness in Langley. Writer Marie Gold says there is more the provincial government can and should do to help the community’s less fortunate.

Letter: B.C. needs to do more to help the homeless

Editor: I attended the homeless forum in Langley with a panel of Mayor Ted Schaffer, MLA Mary Polak, the police chief and John Aldag, MP for Cloverdale-Langley City, leading the forum.

The public was invited and it was an interesting mix of people; the stories that were told were real and heartbreaking.

Most of the homeless are mentally ill or disabled — physically or mentally.

Some were just down on their luck because of job losses, illness, death or divorces.

The government closed Riverview many years ago and did not plan or provide for the mentally ill, so they ended up on the east side of Vancouver or on the streets, drifting, and now we have a large number of homeless in Langley. Yes, there is the Gateway of Hope, which has provided shelter and hope to a portion of the homeless.

What I learned at the forum was that these highly paid people leading the forum really didn’t know how to solve these problems in Langley.

Our Liberal government people, such as the Housing Minister, MLA Rich Coleman, don’t seem to care, because I just read in the Langley Times that with the announcement by Premier Christy Clark that 2,900 more affordable units will be built over the next two years, but no projects were slated for Langley City or Township.

The money for these new units comes from a $516 million housing fund announced in September.

These units are to provide for low-income seniors, special needs individuals, Aboriginals, women and children. But none of this money is going to Langley for housing.

This doesn’t make sense, because listening at the forum, all the money is being spent on the police force moving the homeless camps from place to place or other emergency services.

I worked in community living for 25 years, so when I got up to the microphone, I suggested — and some others suggested similar solutions — that if the municipalities proved more services to these people, the problems would not escalate.

I also suggested a drop-in centre could be opened where these people, who are human beings, could go and receive a hot meal, a free shower and receive clean clothes.

If the City would treat them with compassion — and not like they are criminals — they may be able to have a little dignity and rebuild their lives.

I read in the newspaper today that the provincial government is planning to dole out $630,000 to help new immigrants land a career.

These projects will be funded through the B.C. Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.

Why is the B.C. government not looking after our own homeless people and not solving the problems in our own community?

Marie Gold,

Langley

Just Posted

Coleman decides against running for Surrey mayor

‘I’m a Langley guy,’ MLA says

Glow Langley returns bigger and brighter this Christmas

Organizers will also introduce Harvest Glow — a celebration of autumn

Aldergrove Food Bank leader ‘retires’

Darlene Isaak has a ‘legacy written in the hearts and bellies of the vulnerable’

A closer look at law enforcement for RCMP junior cadets

Annual Langley event marks 13th year

Langley man arrested for alleged voyeurism at BCIT

Burnaby RCMP have arrested a 48-year-old man after he allegedly took photos of a woman in a washroom

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read