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Help homeless, don’t count them – councillor

On the heals of the 2007 Homeless Count, Saanich Coun. Bob Gillespie is pushing for action on a motion Saanich council approved in December 2006.

Nothing has been done since council said it would look into the idea of using provincial property transfer tax funds to supplement affordable housing solutions, Gillespie said. The money, estimated to be $900 million in 2006, is funneled into general revenue for the province. Council supported a motion by Gillespie and Coun. Vic Derman to look into redirecting 20 per cent of that revenue into housing issues.

“Why are we spending $100,000 counting heads?” Gillespie asked, noting that has been done. “We never come up with action.”

The 2007 count by Cool Aid cost $97,000 to conduct, with some of that money going directly to the homeless population in the form of food and clothing.

Gillespie plans to bring the issue up again at a joint meeting between local municipalities in May.

The count, organized by the Victoria Cool Aid Society, was done Feb. 5 in local shelters. Volunteers conducted surveys of the homeless population from Feb. 6 to 9.

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