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Charities squabble with politicians over homeless rights

September 10th 2009
Canadian politicians and local businesses have become embroiled in a bitter dispute with drug charities over the rights of homeless people in Vancouver. The disagreement started when support group the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) and the Pivot Legal Society complained to a human rights tribunal over the city's policy of not allowing homeless people to sit or sleep on pavements. Commerce group the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and council leaders immediately tried to have the complaint thrown out. But in a ruling last month, a tribunal upheld the complaint that homeless people are being discriminated against because of a new policy called the Ambassador's programme. This programme, implemented last year, is a policy whereby homeless people are removed from the street by security guard patrols, as part of a drive to improve business. Pivot and VANDU complained that the programme discriminated "on the basis of race, colour, ancestry, and physical and mental disability," contrary to the Human Rights Code and that the tactics of removing homeless people were "humiliating and shaming." Council leaders and the business group tried to quash the complaint, arguing that homelessness was not a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Human Rights Code and that the complaint was nothing more than a "politically motivated attack." But tribunal member Tonie Beharrell rejected that argument, and accepted the premise that homeless people in Vancouver comprised a disproportionate number of Aboriginal people and those with mental disabilities. An outcome is yet to be decided.

September 2009



Best foot forward

Jumping the gun

Doing the Kiltwalk

Sally forth

Homelessness Hurts

The soup report: The right help in the right place at the right time?

Space at Emmaus

MP's expense and being on the street

Anger at a common scene

Operation Loose Change

London's 15 per cent rise in homeless

Swine flu preparations made

Goings on at Novas

Westminster fails to follow up on street count accuracy

Inquest goes ahead as homeless man's family is found

Charities squabble with politicians over homeless rights

Bum fights caused 27 deaths last year

Professional beggars working in Leicester

Belfast local charged with murdering his nephew

Seattle "breached constitutional rights‚Äö?Ñ?? by refusing tent city

Thames Reach, Blenheim partner up

Homeless services to pay for banning animals

Economic crisis transforming US homeless population

Street Shield 7: The Missing Man


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© Copyright 2009-2014 The Pavement. Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656 Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760 ISSN (online) 1757-0484