Name: Karen Young
Party affiliation (if any): none
Education: SFU, Publishing; UFV Continuing Ed, professional development
Occupation: Director of Development (fundraising), semi-retired; Author; Trainer
Previous political experience: Volunteer on campaigns
Residency (city/neighbourhood): Abbotsford East, Bateman area
Currently on the Board of Governors, Karen was President of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce in 2001. Karen has served as President of her Rotary club (2005), President of the Abbotsford Symphony Orchestra Society (to 2007). She was a member of the Abbotsford Economic Development Advisory Committee in 2001, 2002. She sat on the Executive Committee of the Campaign for Healthcare Excellence, technology-fundraising for our new hospital. She was appointed to the Abbotsford Arts and Heritage Advisory Committee, 2006 – 2011. Previously, she was a Leadership trainer for the United Way FV (1996-2000), and was on the volunteers organizing committee for the 1995 WCSG (1992 – 1995). Provincially she was appointed to the British Columbia Arts Council, serving from 2007 through 2012.
Marital status/children: Divorced, three adult children, three grandchildren
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Young-for-Abbotsford-City-Council/453270214812271
What do you feel are the three key issues Abbotsford voters should be considering in this civic election?
The three key issues for this civic election are social inclusion (access for all to affordable homes, to local well-paying jobs, and participation in recreation); fiscal responsibility (controlling taxation while continuing to provide services, saving for future known expenses, being good stewards of City resources), and; transparency and customer focused service within City Hall (as those who serve the people of Abbotsford, Council decisions should be transparent, and people served by all staff with respect.)
What’s your plan to deal with homelessness in Abbotsford?
· First, recognize that people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness must be treated with dignity and respect. This should characterize all communications with, and about people who are homeless.
· Set a goal to end homelessness within a defined timeline by providing for (through partnerships and informed communications) a wide range of solutions that will both assist people who are currently homeless – whether street homeless, sofa-surfing, or living in unsecure housing – and address some of the root causes of homelessness.
· Concrete solutions in accordance with guidelines and outcomes laid out by Council, matching best practices, and with understanding of our community may include a range of the following:
o staffed, minimal barriered housing overseen by the non-profit sector
o affordable housing appropriate to the health and safety needs of an individual
o outreach services to directly assist people to maintain their housing by liaising with landlords, and assist with maintaining health
· Funding will be partnership with senior levels of government, health authorities, public Foundations and private funding.
How would you make city hall more accountable and transparent?
· Open and transparent decision making, including easy access to the general agenda of a closed meeting.
· Accessible municipal information on a (perhaps) redesigned website
· Accountability mechanisms in place for senior positions
Are changes required in local municipal spending? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
· Spending rises and falls with need. As in any budget, spending is linked to income, and also to the needs of the community. As Abbotsford grows, spending must increase to keep pace with cost of living, and with essential services that keep us safe. We must also put money aside for infrastructure upgrades and emergency preparedness. And, of course, balance spending with income.