Monday, October 11, 2010

HOMELESSNESS ACTION WEEK: Panel Discussion on what can be done in Surrey

This week is Homelessness Action Week and I have agreed to participate in a panel discussion on addressing Homelessness in Surrey Tuesday October 12 at 7:30. The event will include remarks from Mayor and Councillor Judy Vielleneuve, and a screening of the movie Poor No More. Below is more information, as well as a 6 Point Plan I once suggested for Vancouver, which could be modified to address Surrey's Homelessness Challenges.

'Poor No More' - Public Forum and Reception
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Join the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Task Force for a Public Forum and Reception showcasing the documentary ‘Poor No More'.

Date: Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Time: 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm
Place: SFU Surrey Campus, Theatre and Main Hall

Guest speakers include a representative of the Surrey Board of Trade; Denise Moffat, President of the Surrey Teacher’s Association; Michael Geller, Architect and Property Developer; and Lorraine Copas, Executive Director of SPARC BC.

Poor No More offers solutions to Canada's working poor. The film takes three Canadians to a world where people do not have to beg, where housing is affordable and university education is free. They ask themselves - if other countries can do this, why don't we?

Hosted by TV and film star Mary Walsh, Poor No More offers an engaging look at Canadians stuck in low paying jobs with no security and no future. Mary then takes us on a journey to Ireland and Sweden so we can see how these countries have tackled poverty while strengthening their economies. It offers hope to those who have to work two jobs a day and to those who can’t find work.


Michael Geller. B.Arch, MAIBC, FCIP

During the course of the last election campaign, we heard a lot about the need to address homelessness. Many argued that the city needed to have a plan. In fact, Vancouver has a homeless action plan which is being implemented.

The Plan identifies Three Strategic Priorities and 87 recommendations that if implemented, would make a significant difference in reducing homelessness. It identifies three key priorities in the areas of income, housing and support services.

I first learned about the plan when I started to volunteer with a small group in the Downtown Eastside. I think it is a sound plan. However, like any good plan, it must be adapted as circumstances evolve. Based on what I have learned over the past year, we need a comprehensive set of actions to reduce homelessness by half by 2010, and ultimately achieve the longer term goal of ending homelessness by 2015.

I know we must be realistic. Vancouver is a very desirable place to live, and homeless people will continue to migrate here from other parts of the province and country. For this reason, any effective plan can only be implemented in cooperation with the senior levels of government, the broader community and the private sector.

The following are 6 actions that I think might help us address homelessness in Vancouver over the coming years.

1. Renovate or construct new units. This program is currently underway and will result in both supportive housing and more conventional self-contained units. However, as evidenced by the recent re-opening of the Pennsylvania Hotel, this approach can be costly. (The Pennsylvania appears to have cost more than $1000 a sq.ft. of livable space!) Many of the proposed projects on 12 city sites are being held up pending a review of their costs and development programs. While new projects are necessary, we need to look to other strategies.

2. House the homeless through a ‘streetohome’ initiative. This program has been underway in Toronto and other North American cities and has been effective in housing people and providing support services in both ‘purpose built’ and existing rental accommodation. A new ‘streetohome’ Foundation was created in 2008 and has the potential to attract significant private sector funds, to complement public sector funds;

3. Enforce the Standards of Maintenance bylaws including the provisions that allow the city to do the work and bill the owner if he refuses. Only once did the city do this, and it resulted in a lawsuit. But this is an approach worthy of further investigation. I think it is wrong to simply buy up badly maintained hotels. We should compel the owners to fix them;

4. Work with the Province to increase the Shelter Component of Welfare. It did not increase for 14 years, and only recently increased $50 to $375. This is not enough. And the low shelter allowance contributes to the poor maintenance of much of the accommodation in the city. $375 does not buy much

5. Given the urgent need to help get people off the streets while the new housing is being built, continue to identify opportunities for new shelter beds, with appropriate security. While this is not a long term solution, DTES activists who previously opposed shelters now tell us that we should create limited new shelters. And why not put lockers and possibly ‘privacy screens’ in shelters to help make them safer and more secure?

6. Create a stock of factory built relocatable housing that can be set up on a temporary basis on vacant publicly and privately owned lands in the DTES and elsewhere in the City. While we are well aware that there is often nothing more permanent than a ‘temporary building’, this housing would be temporary if located on sites with significant redevelopment potential. The owners of private sites could be offered property tax relief, and other attractive inducements to make sites available. The units could be kept in place for no more than 3 years and still be viable. This form of housing could be erected quickly and meet a need while longer term solutions are implemented.

None of these ideas will completely end homelessness. There will always be people who want to remain on the streets. But a comprehensive strategy is necessary in Vancouver, and Surrey, and other places where homelessness is a problem.

I hope these ideas will contribute to the discussion during Homelessness Action Week.


Anonymous said...

Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with
SEO? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good gains.
If you know of any please share. Thank you!

My page; gas furnace heating systems

Anonymous said...

Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist
with SEO? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm
not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share.

Thank you!

Have a look at my blog post gas furnace heating systems
Also see my web page > gas furnace troubleshooting

Anonymous said...

Does your blog have a contact page? I'm having a tough time locating it but, I'd like to send you
an e-mail. I've got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

My web site - golds gym clothes australia

Anonymous said...

Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine.
Please let me know where you got your design. Thanks

Also visit my web blog: electronics workbench freeware

Anonymous said...

Howdy just came upon your website via Yahoo after I typed in, "Blogger: Michael Geller's Blog" or
something similar (can't quite remember exactly). In any case, I'm happy I found it because your subject material
is exactly what I'm looking for (writing a college paper) and I hope you don't mind
if I gather some material from here and I will of course credit you as the reference.
Thanks for your time.

Also visit my weblog: electrical engineering principles and applications answers

Anonymous said...

I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?

Plz respond as I'm looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. appreciate it

Review my web blog :: electrical engineering jobs under h1 visa

Anonymous said...

Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist
with Search Engine Optimization? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good results.
If you know of any please share. Cheers!

Look into my website; panavise 315 circuit board holder

Anonymous said...

Hi there! It seems as though we both have a passion for the
same thing. Your blog, "Blogger: Michael Geller's Blog" and mine are very similar.
Have you ever thought about writing a guest post for a
related blog? It is sure to help gain publicity to your blog (my website recieves a lot of traffic).
If you happen to be interested, e-mail me at: ewantrejo@gmail.
com. Thank you so much

Here is my web site -

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I've been following your web site for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

My page: 8 silicon wafer thickness

Anonymous said...

Hola! I just discovered your website: Blogger:
Michael Geller's Blog when I was exploring It looks as though someone enjoyed your website so much they decided to bookmark it. I'll unquestionably be coming back here more often.

My web-site ... psp usb cable gamestop

Anonymous said...

Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again.
Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

Also visit my web blog: android usb host app

Anonymous said...

Howdy administrator, I just wanted to give you
a brief heads up that your Website address: http://www. is being flagged as a possibly malicious web site
in my internet browser opera. I would highly suggest having somebody
look into it. You can lose a lot of visitors due to this issue.

Best of Luck.

Also visit my webpage ... plumbing supply ct

Anonymous said...

Hello! I am about to start my own blog and was wondering if you know where the best place to buy a website
url is? I am not even sure if that's what its known as? (I'm new to this) I'm referring to "". How do I go about acquiring one of these for the website I'm making?
Thank you

My web-site; discount dance shoes free shipping

Anonymous said...

Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO?

I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good results.
If you know of any please share. Thank you!

Visit my web-site:

Anonymous said...

Hey! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to take a look.

I'm definitely enjoying the information. I'm bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
Superb blog and great style and design.

my web page digital cameras best buys australia

Anonymous said...

Hello! I was curious to know if setting up a blogging site such your own: http://www. is
hard to do for inexperienced people? I have been hoping
to create my own website for a while now but have
been turned off mainly because I've always believed it demanded tons of work. What do you think? Thanks alot :)

Feel free to surf to my weblog; home depot center box office

Anonymous said...

Casino Del Rio$15$100100%$600 European Lap in 1973 with a exuberate by Taking the UEFA Cup and some other League this time of year. [url=]online casino[/url] Finally, opt for the payment and are too concerned about duplication of efforts by security officers as well as auditors.

Anonymous said...

Having read this I believed it was extremely informative.

I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put
this article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both
reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

my site - Commercial Led Lighting

Anonymous said...

Do you individuals have a facebook fan web page? I
appeared for one on twitter however couldn't discover one, I would love to develop into a fan!

Also visit my blog tips to get pregnant

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles?
I mean, what you say is fundamental and all.
But think of if you added some great photos or video clips to give
your posts more, "pop"! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this blog could undeniably be one of the very best in its niche.
Excellent blog!

Feel free to visit my site :: critical essay example

Anonymous said...

If you desire to take a good deal from this piece of
writing then you have to apply these techniques to your won website.

Feel free to visit my web site ... local company directory

Anonymous said...

Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it,
you may be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your
blog and will eventually come back at some point. I want to encourage
one to continue your great writing, have a nice day!

my site ... online real estate directory

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that's both equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt,
you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very
happy I came across this during my hunt for something regarding this.

Stop by my website - gaming t-shirts wow

Anonymous said...

Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

Check out my web blog; top business directory sites

Anonymous said...

I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I'm assuming having a blog like yours
would cost a pretty penny? I'm not very internet savvy so I'm not 100% certain.
Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Take a look at my site :: largest home remodeling company us

Anonymous said...

Howdy, I do think your website could be having internet browser
compatibility problems. When I look at your website in
Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.
I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, great website!

Look at my homepage: remote computer support charlotte nc

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy to uncover this page. I wanted to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every little bit of it and I have you book marked to see new stuff in your site.

Here is my site term paper for sale - -

Anonymous said...

Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!

my web page: sample outlines for research papers

Anonymous said...

hello!,I love your writing so a lot! proportion we keep up a correspondence
more about your post on AOL? I require a specialist on this area to resolve my problem.
May be that is you! Looking forward to look you.

Look into my blog post movie discussion guide

Anonymous said...

It's hard to come by experienced people for this subject, but you seem like you know what you're talking about!


Feel free to visit my site: USA real estate agent directory