Nanaimo political candidates address homelessness at public forum

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Homelessness and affordable housing are among the most contentious topics in Nanaimo’s upcoming municipal election.

To help shed light on where the candidates stand on these issues, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI) and the Nanaimo Coalition to End Homelessness invite members of the public to attend a Candidates’ Forum on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 6:30-8:30pm at Beban Park Social Centre, 2300 Bowen Road, Nanaimo.

“We need to see action to help the hundreds of people who are homeless on our streets and in tent city,” says Signy Madden, Executive Director of United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. “United Way, City of Nanaimo staff, BC Housing, and the local homelessness coalition have worked hard to analyze the problem and develop strategic plans. Federal and provincial funding is available. We need a municipal council able to implement the plans. This forum is an opportunity for the public to better understand who they’re electing into office and where those candidates stand on the vital issue of affordable housing and homelessness.”

United Way and the Nanaimo Coalition to End Homelessness want to encourage discussion on this critical topic between members of the public and many of the local political candidates.

“When there’s an affordable housing crisis, it impacts all levels of society and unfortunately those who are already homeless or facing homelessness see the worst of it,” says Violet Hayes, Executive Director of Island Crisis Care Society and homelessness coalition member. “When housing is no longer affordable for those in the middle class, it’s much less so for those living in poverty; we’re seeing a ripple effect where people living on the brink of homelessness are finally being pushed out onto the streets.”

At the Candidates’ Forum, members of the public, community stakeholders, and service providing agencies are invited to hear from candidates about their position on the current strategies to address housing and homelessness (including the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy, the Nanaimo Community Plan to End Homelessness, and the Nanaimo Point-in-Time Homeless Count Report). Attendees may also ask questions about how the prospective politicians plan to take action when in office.

For those unavailable to attend the event, candidates participating in the forum have been asked to answer the following questions, which will be posted on UWCNVI’s Nanaimo 2018 municipal election webpage in advance of the forum: 

  • What do you know about the housing and homelessness issues we’re experiencing in Nanaimo?
  • Do you endorse and actively commit to achieving the priorities identified in the Homeless Plan and Affordable Housing Strategy in your term? Provide details on your priorities and how you would achieve them.
  • Municipalities that are effectively moving the dial on housing and homelessness are buying land and zoning appropriately for projects to facilitate BC Housing investments. Do you endorse these activities/approaches by the City of Nanaimo? If so, how would you deal with NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard-ism) and community push back, while implementing the array of housing and solutions our community requires?
  • Will you support the City of Nanaimo in adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028, and if so what actions will you undertake and support to reach this target?

Event Details:

2018 Nanaimo Municipal Election Candidates’ Forum
Thursday, October 4, 2018
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Beban Park Social Centre
2300 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo, BC V9T 3K7

Special thanks to The Wave 102.3fm and the Nanaimo News Bulletin, the media sponsors of the event.

More information on the event can be found on UWCNVI’s Nanaimo 2018 municipal election webpage or by phone at 250-748-1312.