Friday, July 21, 2006

Homeless in paradise

As Calgary's population swells with job-seekers reaching for the brass ring, the city's streets swell with homeless. In the last two years, the number of Calgary homeless jumped by a third, from 2,597 to 3,436, while the number sleeping on the street tripled. Many have full time jobs, but can't find or can't afford permanent accommodation. Thousands linger on the waiting list for subsidized housing.

The city may be rich but not rich enough. City officials insist they need the help of the provincial and federal governments. Alderman Bob Hawkesworth wants candidates for the provincial Conservative leadership to make homelessness an issue and wants Ralph Klein to set up a task force to study the problem and set targets. He also suggests the federal government should fast-track affordable housing money.

It all can't happen soon enough. A provincial government swimming in cash that can't, or won't, house its poorest people is an embarrassment, and brings into question the reckless pace of oil sands development.


Post a Comment

<< Home