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Coleman becomes homelessness czar

The rumbling started this morning about the announcement that Housing Minister Rich Coleman was going to become Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside czar. As it turns out, it’s a little more than that.

He’s actually being put in charge of figuring out what all is going on with homelessness, mental health and addiction in five different communities, as you can read on the government news release here.

I just had a talk with the minister who said he knows that this is going to be a challenge, because organizations will want to protect their turf, but his new position will give him the mandate to collect the information from everyone involved with those social issues and figure out who is actually producing results.

(From what he said, I gather his team will even be able to see what different services individual people are using.)

This all follows, of course, on the call from Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu for some kind of integrated accounting system, which echoes what many others have asked for over the years. But what Chief Chu wants, he seems to get.

Frances Bula publishes the State of Vancouver blog where this first appeared, and writes for the Globe and Mail, Vancouver Magazine and others.

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