It came to light this week that two homeless men from Saskatchewan had ridden a bus to British Columbia. That doesn’t sound very interesting, but the why and how is. The Saskatchewan government provided the tickets. This is apparently not that unusual. Provincial governments have been known to purchase bus tickets for people who are out of province and need to get home. However, in this case the one-way tickets were out of province bound.
On the surface, it seems sleazy for a province to export its homeless. At the same time, the reason for all of this was a cut to funding. These two men had nowhere else to go. The spaces they currently had, had no more resources for them. They were getting kicked out and cut off. Climate wise, it would seem far better to be homeless in Vancouver than Northern Saskatchewan.
There were several soundbites regarding this issue. A lot of people were pissed off, as one would expect. Provinces should simply not export homeless to another province with no notice or plan. However I have a feeling that, if proper communication channels were used, the B.C. government would have ultimately shut it down. All the while these two men would have been fending for themselves.
Vancouver already has a homeless problem. A problem that it can’t seem to fix outright. A problem whose epicenter is right where everyone wants to develop. Which seems to be the only reason why the government cares in the first place. To that end, the municipal government’s solution is to load people up on buses and drop them off somewhere else. Basically, to thin the problem by spreading it out. There is one such example, literally two blocks away from the Vancouver and Burnaby border. Pretty much as far as they could legally move them. Out of sight, out of mind. That is the thing with Vancouver. The only reason why it wants to “fix” this issue is because it is right where the money is. As soon as homeless are out and zillion dollar buildings are going up, the issue will probably be considered resolved.
At the same time, British Columbia recently opened its doors to Syrian refugees. Exactly how many, I’m not certain. Definitely more than two. Is there a good plan in place to get them set up with places to live and work? Mostly, yet some still haven’t found a place to permanently reside yet; Vancouver housing problem much? Those relocated to other areas of the province seem to be finding residences and work. I am sure a few more logistical issues will arise as it seems impossible to transplant that many people smoothly.
What I am getting at is, if a country as a whole can bring in 10,000 refugees in with a plan that will work for a majority of them, then a municipal government should be able to handle two guys. I mean, it isn’t like they really care anyway. They will more than likely give them a bit of funding and a hand with the paperwork, then plop them down somewhere, never to think about them again. I guess accepting homeless guys just isn’t that trendy.