CEO of BC Housing Abruptly Resigns After 26 Years
In a public statement released unexpectedly yesterday, the chief executive officer of BC Housing announced that he will be stepping down from his post.
CEO Shayne Ramsay and his work with the government agency have been under fire lately, intensified by tense market conditions and growing homelessness and poverty in the province. Ramsay’s news also follows a recent and controversial public hearing for a social housing project in Kitsilano, which amassed so much rampant volatility that Ramsay was “swarmed by opponents and threatened with physical violence” following approval of the project.
Today I’m announcing that I have decided to retire as the CEO of BC Housing. On Saturday morning, May 7th, something shifted. I watched out my window as police descended on Crab Park. I had just returned, minutes earlier, from taking Fred for our regular morning walk. 1/10— Shayne Ramsay (@Shayne_Ramsay) August 2, 2022
In his statement, which he also released on Twitter, Ramsay detailed some of the grim events that led him to his decision.
“On Saturday morning, May 7th, something shifted. I watched out my window as police descended on Crab Park. I had just returned, minutes earlier, from taking our dog Fred for our regular morning walk. On the beach, a man lay fatally stabbed,” he writes. “Over the past week, people who were homeless and formerly homeless were murdered, and a women was intentionally lit on fire just a block from where I live.”
He goes on to say that there are larger trends at play in Vancouver, including classism and violence against homeless persons, which have prevented him from doing his job effectively.
“These incidents are not isolated, nor are they the only incidents that have caused me to lay awake at night. From the Interior to the West Side, doubtless small but vocal groups of people are increasingly angry and increasingly volatile,” he writes. “While one community faces the almost certain prospect of poverty, poor health, violence, and pre-mature death, others are now unwilling to provide a welcoming space, a space that could save lives. I think the shooting on Hastings Street, surrounded by the encampment and during another heat wave, finally did it for me. I no longer have confidence I can solve the complex problems facing us at BC Housing.”
Ramsay’s last day with BC Housing will be September 6.
“It is time for someone else to step into the leadership role at BC Housing,” he writes, concluding his statement. “Thank you to everyone who has brought their passion and commitment to BC Housing over the past 26 years. I am full of gratitude for all of you, past and present.”