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City council, premier meet on homelessness issue

Premier David Eby’s meeting with council on April 14 ‘was productive,’ mayor says.
Prince George city council met with Premier David Eby on April 14 to discuss issues of homelessness, mental health and addictions in the city.

Prince George city council met with Premier David Eby on April 14, to discuss the challenges facing the city, its downtown business and unsheltered homeless population.

Homeless encampments in Prince George and the limited options available to house encampment residents, was central to the discussion, a statement issued by the city on Wednesday said.

“People want to see solutions to challenges related to encampments in B.C. communities, and housing to help people move inside, safely,” Premier David Eby said. “Following our initial meeting in January, I was pleased to meet with Prince George’s mayor and councillors again to explore ways to work together on these challenges for the benefit of everyone living in Prince George.”

Through BC Housing, the provincial government has opened 114 new supportive housing units in the city since 2017, including 50 last June at the First Avenue housing project. The city plans to continue working with BC Housing on the next phase of the project, the city statement said.

“We feel our engagement with the premier was productive,” Mayor Simon Yu said. “We talked about encampments and the health and safety matters facing our community, in addition to reiterating council’s support for the province’s ‘Homes for People’ plan.”

City council urged Eby to consider using Prince George as a pilot community for various programs and initiatives to tackle homelessness, addictions and mental health issues announced as part of the Homes for People plan.

“The city looks forward to supporting the Province as it works to deliver meaningful results to those in our community impacted by homelessness, addiction and mental health challenges,” the city statement said.