Mayor Kennedy Stewart (Vancouver) has promised to create non-police service teams to respond to situations in the city where homelessness, mental illness, addiction — or all three social issues combined — are causing concerns for residents and business operators.
Stewart announced the proposed Health and Addictions Response Team, or HART. The mayor’s proposal calls for 25 staff to be deployed.
Stewart said the team would take pressure off Vancouver police officers, who respond to approximately 700 calls per day, many of them not related to Criminal Code offences.
“Most of these situations are not emergencies,” he said. “What is most often needed is de-escalation, immediate food, water and clothing and connecting those in need to existing provincial services such as emergency housing, health care and income assistance programs. HART fills this gap.”
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