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Canadian business to lobby Harper on homelessness

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce will lobby the Harper government for a national plan to end homelessness.

The chamber's resolution, passed this morning at a conference in Gatineau, Quebec, was brought forward by the Burnaby Board of Trade.

“Homelessness is an issue of concern for businesses coast-to-coast,” said Darlene Gering of the Burnaby board.

The resolution calls for the Federal Government to reallocate funds from the current federal budget envelope to develop a national plan to end homelessness.

“Last year, the federal government spent $3.57 billion in direct spending on homelessness and affordable housing initiatives, but without a national plan to manage and coordinate the effort, Canada’s capacity to end homelessness is significantly diminished.”

The Burnaby Board of Trade argued that homelessness has a direct financial impact on business: it deters customers, damages employee recruitment and retention, harms tourism and discourages companies from setting up offices in areas with a visible homeless population.

The Burnaby board’s homelessness resolution was supported by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, the Surrey Board of Trade, and the Metro Vancouver Homelessness Secretariat.

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