In a surprise announcement Tuesday, the CEO of BC Housing, Shayne Ramsey, announced he is retiring.
In a letter posted to the organization’s website, Ramsey said it all started to change for him on May 7.
He said he watched police descend on Crab Park in Vancouver after a man was fatally stabbed.
His neighbour was knocked down by two people accused of the man’s murder as they ran across the park.
Ramsey continued on to say over the past week, people who were homeless and formerly homeless were murdered in Langley, and a woman was intentionally lit on fire in the Downtown Eastside near his house.
“Then, last Tuesday afternoon, after talking to the media about my closing remarks at the Arbutus public hearing, I was swarmed by opponents and threatened with physical violence,” he said.
“I had to be escorted to a private elevator, for my safety. Security at the City have since advised that after reviewing the video footage, they believe the swarming and threatened punch amounted to assault. This time it was angry words and a fist, next time it could be worse.”
Ramsey said these incidents and more have kept him awake at night.
“From the Interior to the West Side, doubtless small but vocal groups of people are increasingly angry and increasingly volatile,” he said. “While one community faces the almost certain prospect of poverty, poor health, violence and premature death, others are now unwilling to provide a welcoming space, a space that could save lives.”
He goes on to say the final straw was the shooting on Hastings Street Saturday, “surrounded by the encampment” and during another heat wave.
“I no longer have confidence I can solve the complex problems facing us at BC Housing,” Ramsey said.
He goes on to say he just turned 61 and wants to spend more time with his children and grandchildren while he still can.
“It is time for someone else to step into the leadership role at BC Housing.”
His last day will be Sept. 6.