By George F. Evens. Homelessness alludes to the comprehensive problem and its many causes, which to most, is so overwhelming it poses barriers to remedy and sadly the political will has not existed (and mostly still doesn’t) to remedy. Thus, we have first; redevelopment of downtown Mission among the chaos of sporadic development in Mission pre-dating the ill-conceived Junction. The development plans, for the most part, created by CRMG, will commence addressing many aspects of redevelopment and do not belong on a shelf, simply because the new Mayor does not know what to do.So get a committee organized and get on with it.
Homelessness in Mission (but equally Abbotsford), is more complex and needs provincial cooperation and some hands-on, feet on the pavement action, not more bafflegab. True; homelessness may be seen to be the unfortunate who simply cannot financially exist and may be recently widowed seniors or unemployed but need help, starting with a home and shelter of their own. The other component is to identify potential homeless seniors about to lose their home and place a safety-net in place to prevent it.
The second part is the mentally ill who must be identified, taken off the streets and in to a supervised home for ongoing treatment and shelter. The anticipated 50 bed facility in Abbotsford is a good start and needs to be quickly expanded to Mission and other municipalities in need.
The third part is the drug addicted and again, to be identified, taken off the streets, placed in a treatment and rehab facility, hopefully working in-conjunction with family.
When broken down into natural components of identification, housing first in all instances, applicable action defined and commenced, we will move beyond all the rhetoric, excuses, and instead of sending in the storm troopers to push around or to beat up the less fortunate or remove homeless camps, we can then recognize the problem, the causes, and start acting in diligent, expedient fashion with compassion and respect, in conjunction with experienced street ministriess, such as 5 & 2 in Abbotsford.
It is long past time to act. Stop making excuses. Get a minister in Victoria who will act in a pro-active manner to create needed housing.