Wanda Mulholland said the group has worked towards becoming a society for quite some time and is happy to see their commitment to ending homelessness in Burnaby solidified with its creation. Photograph By Larry Wright
“We need to establish ourselves in a new realm, with new potential,” says Wanda Mulholland, longtime spokesperson for the task force
The group formerly known as The Burnaby Task Force On Homelessness has just announced its official transition into a formal, non-profit society.
The Society To End Homelessness In Burnaby believes the change will allow them to work more cohesively towards addressing homelessness in the city.
“It’s not just a name change, it’s about building capacity,” said Karen O’Shannacery, president of the society. She believes solidifying the group as a society will also raise their accountability.
As a society, O’Shannacery said the group will be able to raise more funds to go towards reducing homelessness, as they will now be able to issue tax receipts to donors. However, she said the society will not alter the way the informal task force operated to combat homelessness.
“I don’t see the task force changing,” she said. “We will continue the activities we’ve done for the past ten years.”
What has shifted in recent months, according to O’Shannacery, is the City of Burnaby’s willingness to discuss the society’s proposed “made-for-Burnaby” housing solutions. In January, the society met with the city’s planning and development committee to pitch different housing models, and conversations are ongoing, said Wanda Mulholland, the group’s community development coordinator.
“Currently, there’s a great deal of hope in Burnaby,” O’Shannacery told the NOW. “(The city) has certainly seemed interested in hearing from us … I’m really excited by these conversations.”
O’Shannacery and Mulholland said they believe the city is in talks with the provincial government to collaborate on housing solutions, despite “not having seen eye to eye on these issues in the past.”
The City’s receptiveness is causing the society to be optimistic about the future.
Ultimately, the group said the society status allows them to commit to addressing homelessness in Burnaby on a long-term basis.
“We’re here for the long haul,” she added.
May 31, 2016 © 2016 Burnaby Now – See more at: http://www.burnabynow.com/news/homelessness-task-force-becomes-a-formal-society-1.2267499#sthash.OvbtTybF.dpuf