Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


November 21, 2011

Question on extreme weather emergency shelters

S. Simpson: In Vancouver the emergency weather response planners announced today that they expect they will be declaring an extreme weather alert for tomorrow as it affects the homeless in Vancouver. That is their expectation. They've said that they're looking at that as temperatures drop.

Hon. Speaker, you'll know that the Minister for Housing chose not to fund the 160 beds, shelter beds and the HEAT shelters. There are about 238 beds funded in the city today. The planners have been quoted in the media as saying that they've found about another 25 beds to supplement those 238, but there still is a significant shortage of beds if this emergency is declared.

My question is to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. This is an emergency, if it's deemed so by those folks. I would ask the minister if she's prepared to commit to ensure there are sufficient shelter beds if an extreme weather alert is declared.

I'm not asking about the housing issue. I'm asking the minister responsible for emergency preparedness if she deems this situation to be an emergency. Does she consider that if the extreme weather response planners in Vancouver and potentially in other communities around this province declare an emergency that could affect the health and safety of the homeless in Vancouver and elsewhere, it is enough of an emergency for this government and this minister or any minister to say: "We will supply the resources to produce the shelters to keep people out of the cold in extreme weather"?

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