By Mike Archer. “Wednesday’s meeting was intended to set a work path for the task force, which is expected to have a strategy designed by September.

DWS Teepee at MCC Dignity Village on Gladys Avenue. JD Archer photo.

The group discussed the necessity of supporting “on-the-ground” resources, and called for service providers and members of the homeless community to be present at the next meeting, which will be in May.” – Abbotsford News, Apr 3, 2014

While it is going to be hard to resist making fun of the Task Force on Homelessness Mayor Banman struck after his vote defeated an offer for $15.3 in funding plus the construction of a low barrier shelter from the province of BC … I promised myself I would try.

It is an amazing move forward that the same people who have spent a decade not involving the homeless in any of their misdirected attempts to solve homelessness suddenly feel that some homeless people should be a part of their discussions.

The fact they are planning to get a strategy together by September shows a frightening lack of understanding of the life and death issues actual homeless people are facing on a daily basis in this community.

The fact, for instance, that none of them have anywhere to have a bodily function is of concern. The Task Force doesn’t seem to have nearly enough of an understanding of the pressing needs of these men and women to realize they can’t hold it until September.

Maybe, as their critics allege, they are simply meeting in order to give Mayor Banman and Councillors John Smith, Bill MacGregor, and Les Barkman an issue they can support during next fall’s election campaign while doing nothing of any significance what-so-ever.

What an eye-opener it would be if the Task Force actually went down to the Teepee on Gladys Avenue, right opposite the Mennonite Central Committee’s new building, and actually shook the hands of some real homeless people.

In fact … there’s a novel idea … why not ask permission of the residents of the Teepee to hold the next meeting of the Task Force at the Teepee. Since all of the Task Force members have access to transportation (cars) and none of the homeless do, it would be a nice gesture to have the next meeting at their place.

And let’s make it a catered affair just like the ASDAC meetings.

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