Vancouver homeless shelters rescued from closure

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The B.C. provincial government stepped in at the last minute and provided $8 million (Canadian) to keep open homeless shelters in the downtown Vancouver area, Richard Dalton reports today in the Vancouver Sun (http://bit.ly/FZ0rP). Four of the five so-called Homeless Emergency Action Team shelters are being rescued. One that ran into opposition from neighbors at upscale condominiums will be closed as planned. HEAT’s “low-barrier” shelters, set up after a homeless woman was fatally burned trying to stay warm, differ from traditional shelters in that they permit pets, shopping carts and drug use. They tend to attract homeless people in their late teens and 20s, Dalton reports. Unspoken in his piece is a looming question: What will Vancouver do about the rough edges in and around its downtown when the Olympics arrive next year? Will the police sweep the homeless from the streets? Stay tuned.

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