Homelessness partners

Job creation, economic prosperity vital components to helping the homeless, job opportunities alone will not completely address the problem.

Editor, The News:

Re: Barking up the wrong tree, guys (Letters, Dec. 13).

The federal government’s priority is economic growth and job creation, which we believe are essential to providing opportunities for all Canadians to flourish. And our approach is working: since the summer of 2009, the Canadian economy has created 880,000 net new jobs.

Though job creation and long-term economic prosperity are vital components to helping the homeless, we recognize that job opportunities alone will not completely address the problem.

Mr. Cowley is correct when he recognizes a correlation between addiction and mental illness as contributors to homelessness. This is why our government created the Mental Health Commission and introduced its Mental Health Strategy for Canada back in May of this year. This strategy is based on the experience of more than 2,500 people, including the general public, stakeholders, and organizations across Canada. Homeless people who live with a mental illness need improved services and support and this is exactly what this commission hopes to achieve.

Another important initiative is the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, a federal program that partners with provinces and territories, communities, and the private and voluntary sectors to strengthen capacity. Our government recognizes that it has a role to play in addressing homelessness, but believes that the most effective services are delivered by community-based organizations. One fine example is the Salvation Army’s Caring Place in Maple Ridge. I encourage everyone in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to follow the example of the Caring Place and give generously to those in need.

Randy Kamp, MP

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission