Banman Snubs Braun – Homelessness Task Force Announced

“Abbotsford City Council has struck a Task Force on
Homelessness to address multiple issues related to homelessness in our community,
announced Mayor, Bruce Banman today

“Council created the Task Force on Homelessness to address the issues before our
community from a holistic perspective,” said Banman. “We need to examine not only the
conditions and responses to homelessness that exist in Abbotsford today, but address
the steps we need to take to meet the requirements in our community going forward.”

The Task Force will operate as a Committee of Council and will be co-chaired by long-time Abbotsford City Councillors Patricia Ross and John Smith.

“This is an immediate undertaking to identify short, medium and long-term strategies to
address homelessness issues in Abbotsford,” said Banman. “The Task Force has been
charged with designing and initiating a comprehensive community-wide homelessness
response plan working in full consultation with all community partners including BC
Housing, the Fraser Health Authority, the service community and the business

Members of the Task Force also include representation from MCC, the Food Bank, the
Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, Abbotsford Christian Leaders Network and the
Abbotsford Police Department.

“The Task Force will be working very closely with all levels in the community and
conducting multiple engagement activities to ensure they capture all perspectives and all
voices,” said Banman. “They will be the forum through which the community discusses
the issue of homelessness in the City of Abbotsford.”

The first meeting of the Task Force will take place early April 2014. Members of
Council’s Task Force on Homelessness are named below.


Task Force Members:

Jim Burkinshaw
Jim Burkinshaw is the volunteer Coordinator of the Abbotsford Christian Leadership
Network’s “City of Refuge Team”, a group of ministry and church leaders in Abbotsford
whose goal is to help churches expand and coordinate their existing involvement in
social justice concerns. Jim is a Chartered Professional Accountant, MBA and works full
time in the agricultural industry. He also teaches part-time at Trinity Western University’s
School of Business.

Darin Froese
Darin is the Executive Director, Lower Mainland Non Profit with BC Housing and has
worked in senior operational and program management positions before joining BC
Housing 8 years ago. Darin holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University and has
attended the Executive Program in Public Sector Leadership at Royal Roads University.
He has been a member of numerous community task forces during his career.

Stan Kuperis
Stan Kuperis is the Director of Clinical Programs Mental Health and Substance Use with
Fraser Health, responsible for the areas of Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Agassiz and
Hope. Stan has worked with Fraser Health in the area of MHSU for 14 years and has
previously been the Manager of MHSU in Chilliwack for 12 years. He has been involved
with the Homelessness Strategy in Chilliwack resulting in the creation of the Chilliwack
Health and Housing Contact Centre. As well he has been involved in developing
outreach mental health and substance use services to folks who are homeless or at risk
for homelessness.

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • wintershades says:

    Here we go!.. Then there will be a Task Force looking into the Task Force and yet another Task Force looking into the second Task Force and on and on. We know what, why and when homelessness begins and how measures can be put into place to help but nooooooooooo! Mr. Banman you raised your hand in the vote! Sheesh…..

  • wintershades says:

    P.S. and why wasn’t this task force put into place BEFORE instead of after the fact? Too late Mr. Banman. You ain’t got my vote 🙂

  • Just curious, do you have information that substantiates an intentional snub to Braun? While I agree Mr. Braun would seem a great fit for this task force (as would hands on service providers like Sally Ann, Warm Zone, 5 & 2, etc) there may be other reasons he is absent.

    I appreciate the strong voice of Abbotsford Today on issues, but not the sometimes inflammatory tone. If you have proof that Braun was snubbed, include it in your accusation. If you don’t have evidence, then you are no more accountable (or trustworthy) than those you point the finger at.

    K Gerry Hiebert

    • The Editor says:

      Mike Archer Says:
      Hi Gerry – Not in a confrontational tone in any way but for information – The editorial tone and words chosen in a headline in a newspaper or on a news website are entirely within the purview of the editor and the editor has the legal privilege to express an opinion in his/her headline. The fact that Braun has been the loudest and most outspoken voice on this council for the homeless, and the additional fact that, when he tried to have council reconsider its decision he was told he would not be allowed to speak is ample enough evidence to support the opinion expressed in the headline. I hope that helps. Mike

      • Mike, thank you for your very reasonable and reasoned response! I may not always agree with your “tone”, but I understand why you chose to use it. I very much appreciate AT and your ongoing efforts to bring to light issues the other media seem unwilling or unable to report. Keep up the good work!!

  • Bas Stevens says:

    In the opinion of an old, bald headed one-legged individual who knows nothing about nothing, it is terribly wrong to have any members of City Council sit on this task force. It is also wrong to have any participation from the Chamber of Commerce. None of these aforementioned people have any idea about homelessness nor have they shown any interest in getting to know the folks who are affected!
    Once a report has been prepared it can, and should be, submitted to Mayor and Council for consideration and action.

    I note that there is no timeline attached to this committee. Will their report be required to be submitted in October or early November of this year in order for certain individuals to benefit in the upcoming fall municipal election?

    As the playwright, William Shakespeare stated, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. In all honesty, it is time for Abbotsford to grow up and shed its parochial mantle.

  • The Editor says:

    Jay Mitchell Says:
    By a long-shot, Henry Braun would be a better fit for this task force than John Smith. An odd selection indeed, a NIMBY-er appointed to work on a problem that such mentalities can’t address
    From Facebook:

  • GeorgeFEvens says:

    As an advocate for Seniors, Homeless & Animals it is incongruous how inept Abbotsford Council is at seeking solutions to each dilemma. To start, when forming any task force, it is crucial to include the (affected) such as Seniors, involve Seniors’ and plan with them. It follows, Homeless, naturally involve Homeless & Advocated, plan with them not for them, if you seek success. It follows, when planning Animal solutions, involve Animal Advocates. Personally, I find it shocking how Abbotsford can be so disingenuous and perpetuate public perceptions of same.

  • Bas Stevens says:

    Very well said, George.

    It seems that the history of problem solving in Abbotsford has never involved those who are affected. If the homeless are part of the problem, invite them in and make them a part of the solution.

    This whole issue reminds me very much of England when she ruled the world – “do as I say and not as I do”. Or, in another way, “we are here to rule over you”. Attitudes like these go a long way in promoting respect and co-operation – I think not!

    There is a fellow Brit on the Task Force who, in my opinion, just does not get it. He promoted and supported the “white elephant” on King Road and he voted against the ACS proposal for a supported housing project. He has been part and parcel of the group who have chased the homeless all over Abbotsford and yet Banman puts him on a pedestal by making him co-chair of the Task Force.

    Is it any wonder why Abbotsford is one of the 3 most talked about cities in all of Canada! Yes, in alphabetical order, say after me, Abbotsford, Montreal, Toronto.

  • Deceit in Drugs says:

    I agree with Jay Mitchell..John Smith was chair of ASDAC from 2006- 2009 and attending committee meetings for years…not once, while
    chair of ASDAC did he come to the table about the need for public
    engagement to find land (location,) which would be available when
    BC Housing came thru with any funding for supportive housing.

    Now, the Mayor has formed a task force, which excludes the very
    people, who have been working tirelessly on the frontlines to help
    find a solution to the homeless problem and are being rebuked at every

    The Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce touts its support for homeless,
    but, is merely on the committee to have control over where supportive
    housing should be located, on behalf of a small self-interest group
    of members.

    It is clear, the Mayor’s Homeless Task Force is more about damage control just before the upcoming election. It’s about trying to secure
    the BC Housing funding, which has been lost and it has key people
    on the committee to try to make it happen.

    It is not about genuine interest in addressing the homeless situation
    in Abbotsford once and for all, that is, getting people off the streets
    and getting the supports they need to make positive changes in their lives.

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