Because it’s the most important topic facing our city, I thought I’d write down my thoughts about what is causing homelessness in the DTES and what we can do about it.

First of all, I need to say that it’s urgent that we end homelessness because people who are homeless have about half the life expectancy of housed people. Homelessness in Vancouver is a humanitarian crisis and, as the UN Rapporteur on Housing Leilani Farha reports, it’s a human rights violation. Secondly, I want to remind readers that we didn’t work on reducing or ending homelessness in the DTES in the 1970s because back then it was not nearly as bad a problem as it is now. I’d say less than one tenth as many people were homeless — proof that what I’m pushing for is possible.

In my opinion, there are four main reasons we have unprecedented levels of homelessness in the DTES…