30 March 2009

To Eliminate Homelessness, Fix the Numbers

Want to end homelessness? Then be creative. Count the bodies differently.

That's the solution arrived at by the BC Liberal government and instituted in its new policy for welfare applicants, as made clear in those instructions for front-line staff assessing new "clients."

The document explains that the rationale for the new approach is to "better identify and track homeless clients."

Well, no. That document suggests that the purpose behind it is to fix the numbers, so that future Liberal government releases will show the homeless number to have magically come down. Then the message will be, just in time for the 2010 Olympics: Lo! The compassionate Liberal government has melted away the blight of homelessness in this province!

Yea. Right.

Notice, by the way, that the new counting method strikes particularly hard at women who are homeless. More women couch surf or are in transition houses, etc., because they're more vulnerable to violence when on the streets.

Sigh. Well, what more would one expect, given the removal of programs and safety measures for women for which this government is already responsible?

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