Burnaby homelessness task force seeks endorsements

The Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness is seeking people to show support for its vision and work.

While monetary donations are always welcome, it's also looking for endorsements, said Wanda Mulholland, its community development coordinator.

"We have a solid base of support throughout Burnaby and we know that we will need to expand and solidify that base of support if we're going to successfully move forward on housing and expanded services for people," Mulholland said.

Many people donate money, food and clothing to assist Burnaby's homeless. Endorsing the task force's work is another way people can help "and show Burnaby citizens want to be assisting our neighbours who are poor," she said.

Individuals, organizations and community leaders are being asked to visit and provide a written endorsement (participants' contact information will not be made public on the site). Already almost 100 people and groups have indicated their support.

Mulholland said it's important for people to see who else is interested in and supportive of local efforts to aid people who are homeless.

"It provides a base for the task force also to be able to say, 'here's some people that are working with us and supporting us.'"

Among the benefits is being able to show community support when lobbying government for services and housing for people who are homeless.

The task force was formed in January 2005 and is made up of representatives from all levels of government, Fraser Health Authority, Burnaby RCMP, as well as local businesses, Burnaby Board of Trade, community organizations, local churches and concerned citizens.

Before that, Mulholland said, many people didn't know there were homeless people in Burnaby.

Since then, "a large majority of people are beginning to really understand there's an issue here in Burnaby like everywhere else in the Lower Mainland," she said. With acknowledgement of the concern, the next step is to give people the chance to show support for the work of the task force and move forward on continuing and expanding services.

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