The province is drafting legislation that would let police officers force homeless people into shelters during times of extreme weather, homeless advocates said yesterday.
The groups are cynical about the rush to push the legislation through before the Olympics and without consulting homeless service providers.
David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said the proposed legislation turns shelters into “functional jails” to hold homeless against their will.
“All of a sudden the Olympics come, and there is a huge rush to force homeless people into shelters, ostensibly because someone died last winter,” Eby said.
Housing Minister Rich Coleman said the legislation was triggered by the death of a 47-year-old homeless woman in Vancouver last winter.
Eby added that it would increase the risk to homeless by making them “invisible” to outreach workers and the public who could call 911 if they are in trouble.