At TAPS’ Annual General Meeting on November 21, 2016, we had a chance to look back over a challenging, exciting and successful year. As well as serving almost 20 per cent more clients than any other year, we were able to focus some of our advocacy efforts on the broader, systemic causes of poverty: taking part in BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s intervention in BC Hydro’s rate design application, helping to lead a province-wide fight against changes to the monthly bus pass program for PWD recipients, organizing and pushing forward the Regional Housing First Motion, and reaching out to tenants dealing with fires and renovictions. On top of that, a great part of our community work this year was in supporting the homeless people living in Super InTent City in their fight to have their Charter rights recognized.
Crucial to the success of InTent City were lawyers Catherine Boies Parker and Jasmine MacAdam, who worked tirelessly to advance the demands of the residents through the courts, with the result that Super InTent City was able to continue to exist until such a time that government could provide housing to the residents. The residents of InTent city successfully pressured various levels of government to invest an estimated $86 million in housing, including a commitment to building 714 units of low cost housing for the homeless.
This brings us to the “Firebrand” award, presented by TAPS in order to recognize outstanding contributions to the fight against poverty. This—the inaugural—“Firebrand” award went to Catherine and Jasmine for their extraordinary work on behalf of the residents of Super InTent City.
As far as changes at TAPS, we approved an updated Constitution and Bylaws, to bring TAPS into compliance with new federal legislation. Our 2016 Annual Report, along with the new Constitution and Bylaws, is available on our website at tapsbc.ca.
We said good-bye to a few board members. Joan McHardy, who has been on the board since 2006, including six years as president, has stepped down, as has Barbara Amberstone, who has contributed so much wisdom during her 10 years at TAPS. Richard Stern, on the board since 2012, has left as he and his wife are expecting a new child; and Danielle Allen has also left to welcome a new baby into the world. We say good-bye, too, to Lynne Milnes and Bhupinder Dulku, who had to leave the board due to other commitments. We wish Joan, Barbara, Richard, Danielle, Lynne, and Bhupinder all the best. Of course, they will remain close to TAPS.
New to the board are Nathan Cartwright, Patricia Cochran, Linda Doctoroff, and Felicity Smith. We look forward to working with them in the coming year.