Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Homeless

Mr. Speaker,

I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak today about a man in my constituency whose daily work brings him in contact with our communities’ most vulnerable citizens. I speak of the men, women, and children among us who have no home.

Wayne Lucier works through the Canadian Mental Health Association to support the homeless in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

Every day Mr. Lucier works with his clients to find affordable housing. However this man is not a realtor searching for the perfect waterfront condo or luxury estate. He is searching for that basic necessity to which all citizens in BC are entitled: clean, safe, affordable shelter.

Finding this shelter is not simple. Many of Mr. Lucier’s clients need other assistance such as mental health support, financial support, addiction services, and food banks. Only then can the search for affordable, clean, safe housing begin.

A count in Williams Lake shows 85 people without homes. In 100 Mile House no official count has determined the exact number of homeless. But referral information from volunteer and government agencies point to a need for affordable housing in that community also.

Every day Wayne Lucier is faced with finding homes for the homeless. When no affordable housing exists he turns to the Friendship Centre’s shelter. Without this resource, many homeless people in the Cariboo would have to live on the street – a dangerous situation in winter temperatures of minus 35 degrees.

Unfortunately the Friendship Centre’s resources are limited and there is not always space available when needed. Mr. Lucier has told me that the biggest barrier for his clients in our community is the lack of affordable housing.

Mr. Speaker, I thank Wayne Lucier for all his efforts on behalf of the citizens of Cariboo communities. I ask the House to join with me in recognizing Mr. Lucier’s work in improving the lives of others.