John Doyle, Auditor General of BC’s newly released report, Homelessness: Clear Focus Needed, raises numerous concerns, including that the provincial government lacks solid numbers on how many homeless people there are in BC and who they are. Most importantly, he found that the province does not have a clear and comprehensive action plan, nor does it have overall targets to measure success. He’s right.
Minister Rich Coleman was dismissive of many of Doyle’s findings but, according to the Vancouver Sun, Coleman did say that he would soon be introducing “performance targets to measure progress.” He said his goal now is to end homelessness in five years (although it is unclear if he means street homelessness or all homelessness, an important distinction). There is no mention of legislating that goal, but this appears to be some movement nonetheless. NDP critic Jenny Kwan, responding to the Auditor’s report, said, “What we need are measurable targets, objectives and timelines.”
A province-wide call has been building for a poverty reduction plan with legislated targets and timelines to reduce poverty and homelessness. So perhaps both parties are moving closer to making that commitment.