The concept of a basic income – combining several existing income and social supports into a single, income-tested but otherwise unconditional cash benefit – has been debated for more than 200 years. It has drawn support, and criticism, from across the political spectrum, attacked or praised as either utopian socialism or minimal-state libertarianism. But has the whole debate just been settled?

Belleville may soon have a program in its downtown helping the homeless and those with mental health or addiction challenges.

Wednesday’s virtual meeting of the Hastings County Community and Human Resources committee heard a staff report.

It indicates the main streets of the downtown district in Belleville are a refuge to many individuals with visible mental health and addictions challenges.

It says there are insufficient mobile resources to provide outreach support to this group of individuals on a day-to-day basis, which leads to many disturbances for local businesses and patrons.

The pandemic has forced the cancellation of Vancouver’s annual homeless count.

A memo obtained by Glacier Media that was emailed Monday to city council and staff cited challenges related to social distancing, concerns about transmission of COVID-19 and mobilizing several hundred volunteers as reasons for cancellation.

“As a result of public health orders related to the pandemic, the training and deployment of volunteers and activities related to carrying out the count this March is not possible,” said the memo from Sandra Singh, the city’s general manager of arts, culture and community services.

Residents across the province are dealing with unbearably cold weather this week.

That includes many who do not have a home to stay in at night.

Fortunately for the homeless in Lethbridge, Alpha House has a solution. The organization operates the Lethbridge Stabilization Centre and Shelter, located at 802 2 Avenue North.

The shelter provides 24/7 service for anyone who needs a place to stay warm and safe.

The icy weather in the Okanagan prompted the Penticton and District Society for Community Living (PDSCL) to open up a temporary emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness to keep warm, but it is only open at night and is already overflowing.

The Church of Nazarene on Jermyn Avenue is being used as an extreme weather response shelter to bring people in from the frigid temperature.

“For this cold snap, we have 10 to 20 beds or so set up at the Church of Nazarene,” Tony Laing, the CEO of PDSCL said adding that it was in response to temperatures dipping below -10 C at night.

“I would not be alive if I didn’t have a place to stay right now,” said Vince Bajer, a sobering admission from someone who is experiencing homelessness in Kelowna.

Bejar is staying at the former Daily Courier newspaper building, which has been transformed into a winter shelter.

“I hear there’s more room available for people, I’m just thankful I have a place to stay right now,” Bajer said.

A group of Lowertown residents are raising concerns about the opening of an emergency COVID-19 isolation centre for homeless people nearby, saying they are worried about the centre’s potential impact on the neighbourhood, as well as the lack of communication and consultation.

Situated inside the Patro d’Ottawa on Cobourg Street, the temporary shelter has 100 beds for single people who would normally be living in a downtown shelter, but who have been forced to leave the shelter to quarantine for anywhere between 10 and 14 days because they’ve tested positive for COVID-19.

Nearby residents say they only learned about the the isolation centre after it was up and running, and they worry the location is too close to three schools.