The Vancouver Park Board will not apply for a court injunction to clear homeless people from a Downtown Eastside park despite pressure from Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who suggested Wednesday that holdouts need a “nudge” to get them to leave.

Park board chair Stuart Mackinnon said commissioners voted in an in-camera meeting Thursday against a recommendation from its own staff to apply for an injunction because the move could displace people into more dangerous areas.

“We do not believe that seeking an injunction from the courts with the goal of clearing people from Oppenheimer Park will bring us anywhere nearer to a true solution,” Mackinnon said at a press conference on Friday.

“Simply removing people from Oppenheimer Park, which may force them onto the streets, the back lanes and into other parks, is not the solution.”

The region set an ambitious goal last year: End chronic homelessness by January 2020.

It’s not going to happen.

“The numbers of high acuity individuals who, and those are the people that we’re really targeting with our new supportive housing program, those numbers are actually higher now than they were when we started,” regional Coun. Elizabeth Clarke said in an interview Wednesday.

She adds it’s not that the region isn’t finding housing for people. Instead, “people are being added to the list and returning to the list faster than they’re coming off the list,” she said.

In just under two weeks at the end August, the City of Peterborough and local agencies were successful in moving 27 people from homelessness to housing.

Eleven of those people were from the overflow shelter location and the outreach done at Victoria Park, where a tent city set up this summer after the closure of the Warming Room on Canada Day.

While it’s understood that people will continue to struggle with housing instability and homelessness, the city and community partner agencies are experiencing results through the Built for Zero initiative. Built for Zero is part the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. The goal is to make homelessness rare, brief and no-recurring by connecting the homeless with housing options and support services. The hope is to end homelessness in Peterborough by 2025.

Alana says she’s been addicted to heroin for over a year after succumbing to depression. She sleeps on Pandora Street in downtown Victoria, outside Our Place Society, a support centre for people experiencing homelessness.

There are “too many people and not enough beds to sleep on” in the shelter, says Alana, who asked that her real name be withheld.

She says she doesn’t stay at local shelters because they’re overflowing with people, bed bugs and head lice.

But on the street, other drug users steal her valuables, defecate in public, and bully her for being kind.

The City of Grande Prairie announced Tuesday the active dismantling of “tent city” and began redirecting occupants to a temporary transition site, the Rotary House and other housing options.

Housing and Homeless Initiative Supervisor Katherine Schmitt said the transition site, adjacent to city hall, will be in operation until Oct. 2. As of then, temporary site operations would also be dismantled.

“By Oct. 1, not only will there be a day engagement space, but there will also be an alternative site for when the shelter gets full for nights,” said Schmitt.

She also said a winter emergency response plan would be rolled out the same day.

The city hopes to send a message to anyone currently tenting they don’t need to continue camping outside and another fenced-off space is available for them.

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…