An image from an ad in the News Bulletin for an all-candidates’ meeting on housing and homelessness this Thursday, Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Beban Park social centre.

Editorial: Campaign’s focus turns to housing and homelessness

Affordable housing and homelessness debate takes place Thursday, Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m. at Beban Park

Any municipal election and its long list of candidates, countless issues and varied platforms and priorities can be simplified into an exercise in trying to find good governance.

But there have been times during these past four years when it seemed like this 2018 election was going to be all about governance, and that any other issues would be secondary. When city council conflict embarrassed or disappointed us and our reasonable expectations for comportment of elected officials, it seemed certain that voters would go to the polls with a single-minded goal of choosing a group they felt would be able to co-operate.

As it’s turned out, over recent months, the very obvious election issue of affordable housing has become more pronounced. Nanaimo has seen how it overlaps with homelessness in ways we can’t ignore, and it’s clear that passing it off as a provincial issue isn’t good enough. This is something that municipal candidates need to talk about, and they are talking about it.

There’s an all-candidates’ meeting this week organized for the express purpose of talking housing and homelessness, and we’d be surprised if those topics aren’t central at the all-candidates’ meetings that follow, too.

This week’s housing and homelessness debate is being hosted by United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Beban Park social centre. Mayoral and council candidates have been invited. If you can’t make it, check for coverage.

The United Way wants to know if candidates support Nanaimo’s affordable housing strategy and action plan to end homelessness. Amongst discussion of those plans, we’ll be interested to hear what other ideas candidates have.

Good governance is the baseline and gives Nanaimo the best chance at taking on some of the other challenges in our community.

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