I recently travelled to Vancouver, B.C. for business and was surprised to find that housing for the homeless was a serious issue and was being confronted with a unique approach. A public meeting on temporary housing options was held in Victoria and the City paid $20 to each homeless person that attended, to share their views on the subject. Over 350 homeless attended the meeting, expressing their thoughts and ideas on how to explore the issue of homelessness. The City Council had set aside funds to explore the issue of homelessness, which paid for the homeless attendees.

The most discussed idea dealt with exploring options for both temporary and permanent housing for the homeless. City Staff were surprised to find that the homeless who attended came from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of skill sets – carpenters, engineers, finance, etc. From the background interviews that were conducted, an inventory of skills among the homeless population was born.

Without a doubt, the lease expensive consultants the City ever hired, and the research was all done first hand, in advance. Something for us to think about in Santa Monica.

Michael C. Dubin

Santa Monica

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