The Township of Langley has turned down a proposal by the City of Langley to work together on addressing and preventing homelessness in both communities.
A Jan. 20 letter from Township mayor Jack Froese to City mayor Ted Schaffer said because a regional homelessness plan is being developed by a Metro Vancouver task force, “we would like to wait for those results before proceeding with an additional plan.”
On Feb. 20, Langley City council voted unanimously to proceed with the proposed Homelessness Action Table without the Township, while leaving the door open for the Township to get involved if it changes its mind.
“We have kept them as potential members,” City CAO Francis Cheung said.
A report to council by Cheung said the Homelessness Action Table, in effect, replaces the Langley Homelessness Steering Committee that was disbanded after 2015.
The table is described as “an advisory coalition of various levels of government, social service agencies and faith-based organizations dedicated to discussing homelessness issues in Langley and making recommendations.”
The terms of reference for the Homelessness Action Table calls for regular quarterly meetings of representatives from both municipalities, the two Langley-area MLAs, local Member of Parliament, police, various charitable societies, Gateway of Hope homeless shelter, Fraser Health Authority, BC Housing and the Ministry of Children, Family & Development.
The first meeting is expected to take place in a few weeks.
“It is our hope that the Homelessness Action Table will be able to implement a large number of the strategies identified in the Homelessness Strategic Plan (developed last year by the City) as well as track and report on progress and advocate for projects and funding to address and prevent homelessness,” the report said.
The strategic plan, endorsed last April by City council, listed a partnership between the City and Township as one of its top priorities.
“While the Langley Homelessness Strategic Plan is the City’s plan, homelessness is fluid between the City and the Township, as well as regionally throughout both Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley,” the plan stated.
“This plan contains many strategies that would benefit both the City and the Township, such as the development of a permanent supportive housing project.”
The plan also calls for creation of a Homelessness Integration Team, increasing the number of rent supplements, “integrated intervention approaches in housing and health” and formation of a Fraser Valley Homelessness Table.
The plan was developed by the City of Langley Homelessness Task Force, which the Township participated in by sending two councillors to meetings.