NPA Councillor Melissa De Genova pleased by support for her motion asking the City of Vancouver to support The Kettle Society
July 25, 2018, Vancouver, B.C. – A motion brought forward by NPA Councillor Melissa De Genova requesting that the City of Vancouver affirm support for The Kettle Society, and partnerships that provide resources for mental health, ending homelessness, and supportive housing, has received the support of Vancouver City Council.
De Genova’s motion was occasioned by the announcement on June 17, 2018 that the Kettle / Boffo project’s 7-year partnership for a proposed housing project had ended up being cancelled. The partnership sought to provide 30 units of supportive housing and an expanded drop-in centre for The Kettle Society, with integrated market housing developed by Boffo. The partners noted that the project was no longer financially viable due to City of Vancouver requirements.
“Our city is in a housing crisis, and finding housing is difficult for so many residents. However, for individuals struggling with mental health issues, finding appropriate housing and resources is an even greater challenge,” said De Genova. “We are fortunate for the great work The Kettle Society does to provide supportive housing and resources for vulnerable people in Vancouver facing mental health issues. The City of Vancouver needs to remove barriers, not put up new ones, for the non-profits that are helping to find housing solutions for Vancouver’s most vulnerable people.”
De Genova is pleased that her Council-mates supported the motion and that it passed “on consent” without debate. De Genova says: “The fact that debate was not necessary, and that Council felt they could, without question or debate, support The Kettle Society and affirm support to address mental health issues and homelessness, gives me hope that Council will come together to support The Kettle Society to move forward with their plans for expansion.”
The text of De Genova’s motion is appended below.
Melissa De Genova
Support for the Kettle Society and the City of Vancouver’s Commitment to Resources for Mental Health, Ending Homelessness and Supportive Housing
MOVER: Councillor De Genova
SECONDER: Councillor Ball
1. Established over forty years ago, the Kettle Society provides 26 supportive services including over 200 units of supportive housing, a transition house for women and mental health drop-in centre to 5000 individuals facing mental health issues in Vancouver;
2. The Kettle Society also advocates and raises awareness for mental health issues, breaking down barriers and working against stigma of mental illness and promotes the inclusion of people living with mental illness in the community;
3. Vancouver is facing a housing and affordability crisis and appropriate housing can be more difficult to find for individuals facing mental health issues and who require supportive housing;
4. Published in 2014, The Mayor’s Task Force for Mental Health and Addictions put forward 23 priority actions. The first recommendation “Work Better Together and Address Service Gaps” states “The City’s role includes work in the areas of housing, services provided through community centres, libraries, funding non-profit organizations which provide outreach and peer supports”;
5. On September 25, 2012, the final report from the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing and Affordability was presented to City Council. The section titled “The Challenge” acknowledges “The Task Force recognizes that homelessness, low income and supportive housing continue to be critical issues facing Vancouver.” Furthermore, the report recommends “Housing and Homelessness Strategy: Housing Continuum.” The Strategy lists “Supportive Housing” as one of the three categories listed under “Ending Homelessness”;
6. Vancouver’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2012-2021 recommends in Section six, titled “Implementation and Performance” under “Ending Homelessness” on the Housing Continuum “Supportive Housing: number and location of new units.” The report also acknowledges and states “The majority of homeless have mental health and addiction issues;
7. The City of Vancouver’s 10 Year Affordable Housing Delivery and Financial Strategy (2018-2027) states “Housing Vancouver further sets ambitious new targets for social and supportive housing, identifying the needs for 12,000 new units of social and supportive housing over the next 10 years.” The introduction to the report states that 4,640 units of social and supportive housing have been approved. The report goes on to state “However, the need remains significant and lessons from the past decade have demonstrated that meeting our new enhanced targets will require sustained partnerships and re-focused approaches to affordable housing delivery”;
8. June 5, 2018 the Policy Report titled “Affordable Housing Delivery and Financial Strategy and Annual Progress Report and Housing Vancouver Data Book” was delivered to Council. The Report Summary acknowledges that social and supportive housing are the most challenging housing units to deliver, as the greatest level of subsidy and investment required;
9. The Kettle Society worked in partnership with a development partner for seven years towards providing 30 units of supportive housing of integrated community living for individuals with mental illness. The plan for the project also included an expanded drop-in centre, which would allow the Kettle to meet their needs for more space to serve more people with mental health issues on a daily basis;
10. On June 19, 2018 The Kettle Society and Boffo Projects publicly announced the cancellation of the project, concluding in their public remarks at the time that the project was financially unviable.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
A. THAT Council affirm support for The Kettle Society as a non-profit organization that serves thousands of people annually and provides resources to individuals and families facing mental health issues and homelessness in the City of Vancouver.
B. THAT Council direct staff to work with The Kettle Society to consider potential opportunities for The Kettle Society to move forward with their longstanding plans to develop an expanded drop-in centre and at least 30 units of community integrated supportive housing for individuals struggling with mental health issues and homelessness in Vancouver.