Homelessness

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December 19, 2008
Homelessness on the hot seat
The weather is bone-chilling in Vancouver but the spotlight on homelessness is intensely hot following the death of a homeless woman. She burned to death in a shelter made with a shopping cart as a result of trying to stay warm with candles. Witnesses say patrons in a nearby coffee shop initially ignored pleas to investigate. Julian Somers, a professor in the SFU Faculty of Health Sciences’ Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction, studies mental health, addiction and homelessness. Somers says, “When we see a member of our society is dying in a desperate attempt to stay warm, we have to ask, ‘Are we moving fast enough collectively to address homelessness?’”

Julian Somers, 778.782.5148, jsomers@sfu.ca

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Bradley Edwards

I've never really understood the apathy towards homelessness in Vancouver, especially with highly visible areas in the downtown area to remind people. Who provides most of the shelters that are active? Church/religious groups? The province? Secular non-profits?