Homelessness & Mental Illness

By March 8, 2014Guest Columns, Issues

By George Evens. In this Edition, excerpt from News To You Newsletter – “Homelessness & Mental Illness in Canada a legacy of bad Government & Companies policy & decisions, DIMINISHING Middle Class, exporting manufacturing jobs & every lost job, terminated Employee is killing North America, making a minority rich?”


  • HOMELESS & MENTAL ILLNESS  DEMANDS RESPECT and those in (power) who lack compassion and empathy, or the simple gesture to be respectful, ought to be turfed out of office, as unbecoming stewards of decency and respect fo fellow humans and their Pets.
    • Pertaining to “Homeless” the key is working with (them), compassion, innovation, high priority to housing first.
    • Pertaining to “Mental Health”, it is crucial to identify as a lifelong issue, not stopping upon age 19 years.  Thus, regardless of source of Mental Health Patient, whether from Government Foster Care or otherwise, the individual must be assured of continuing care, as required to meet needs and continuity of care, treated as an individual. 
    • Homeless in Canada, add a diminishing “Middle Class”, stir heavily with loss of jobs and a major outcome is “Homeless”.  Sadly, as is often the case, (statistics lie) and often fail to be true and accurate reflection of actual unemployment.  Throw in lots of “Bafflegab” notably by Government, at all levels and Homeless surfaces as a major factor in the sad plight of millions in North America.  But in Canada, for our purposes, we find Government in BC, for example, placing Mental Health Patients back in Society, with few if any actual “safety nets”, certainly not (housing) to replace the Institution closed, that was home to many in need. 
    • Homelessness is a phenomenon created by successive bad Federal & Provincial Management decisions involving inadequate Free Trade and Immigration policies and thus, can be remedied quickly if the “Political Will” and needed “Vision, Innovative, business-sense, Empathy & Compassion” existed.  First and foremost, the fact each job lost to Canada, so greedy, self-serving CEO’s can achieve unheralded profits, at any cost, largely by going elsewhere to seek goods & services, normally done by Canadians, is a further “nail in Canada’s economic and employment future”.  So long as VOTERS too, lack the wisdom and conviction to do what is right and demand resolution of many social ailments that failure to demand elected people act accordingly, we will witness a perpetuation of the unacceptable status-quo dealing with Homelessness, but similarly Bullying, lack of Seniors’ rights & needs and recourse to recall inept Politicians at each level of Government.  Thus, as COSCO rightly state, “Plan with Seniors’ not for them”. So too, “plan with the Homeless, talk with them, involve them and not for them”.  The atrocious behavior demonstrated by the City of Abbotsford toward the Homeless has been recognized around the World and has cast a “black eye” upon an otherwise (reasonably) fine City, of sorts, so the “I Love Abbotsford T-Shirts” and “political spin” sought by foolhardy notions this will make the shame go away pales in comparison  and tends to discredit the businesses behind such a shallow response and frankly, illustrates the mass ignorance and in fact indifference & uncaring that actually does permeate through the Community and that is wrong, at best.


  •  “In my opinion”, a new (feature of this newsletter) I believe “COMMUNICATION” skills are the key to success and” TRUST” is the Biggest issue.  To this end, Canadians are likely to VOTE Centre-Right next Federal election 2015 and it is perceived the Liberals will move quickly to solidify their position accordingly.  Justin Trudeau is perceived a man of “depth, substance and principle” albeit current perceptions may indicate still a little immature as a statesperson but he can be allowed some unintentional indiscretions, in this vein, as not mean-spirited nor malicious in nature, and time will develop skills and maturity needed.  By contrast, Stephen Harper has been touted as a “man of depth, substance & principle” but sadly, epitomizes failure to strengthen and create an inclusive Canada, such as until recently the District of Mission similarly was led by divisive Government forces that created lasting cynical and untrusting public persona, that will take time to heal, even when an elected body does mean well, the lack of trust prevails.  Thus, it is perceived a new Government will take Canada in the right direction just as locally, in City of Abbotsford & District of Mission new Municipal Leadership will set a new course under more respectful leadership.  The current dilemma of Homelessness in Abbotsford is an albatross around Mayor & some Councillors necks, and their inability to remedy, to exude empathy and compassion, just as the ideology exemplified by MP, James Moore remarks, “about not being responsible for my neighbours children”, is unproductive, unacceptable and “in my opinion” may be the catalyst to destroy such bodies with these mean-spirited views.
  • In my opinion, local Business Associations, such as Chamber of Commerce or “Downtown” Business Association, such as existing in City of Abbotsford and District of Mission, who may hold membership in the “Chamber” as well or as is often the case, many Businesses do not belong to either Association.  This naturally makes it near impossible to control standards of a Business Community  when membership is not 100% subscribed.  It is common business expectation “Consumers will shop locally” and many programs to encourage shopping habits emerge, often largely unsuccessful. The first basic common objective of Consumers is price, convenience, selection, including ample parking and comfortable amenities, like a mall.  Thus, we find too often, many of the basic needs are not met by local business, often closed early, uncompetitive pricing or return policy and on an open street lacking parking, to the chagrin of Consumers and Business alike, as attracting Consumers becomes a challenge. A proliferation of “strip malls” lacking Consumer focus will exacerbate lack of local support.
  • In my Opinion, local Business Associations exacerbate the alienation between themselves and Consumers by taking (political) positions, supporting unpopular political positions solely to imply support of a Municipal Council.  This may take many forms and the unwise Executive Directors of any such Association can unwittingly, in haste to seem to be “in the pocket” or gain favour from, Municipal Councils.  Hence, we hear of “in developers pocket” or a (Chamber) comes out, like at Mission, supporting a major controversial development and then have the audacity, having opposed Public opinion, expect the same public to shop their businesses, whereas it may be prudent and most diligent to remain impartial.  We heard an Abbotsford body support reducing business taxes and offering lesser concern that homeowner taxes may increase, as a result, then expect the same public to continue to shop.  The Public can be very fickle and has some basic needs and wants, so it is incumbent upon business desiring the Consumer to shop local, they must remain politically neutral and meet shopping experience expectations.
  • One case in point may be the current dilemma involving ACS proposed development and the business opposition, lobbying Municipal Council to not approve.  While clearly very mean-spirited and self-important on the surface, it is perceived Business care more about their status than be a part of a Homeless situation improvement project.  This business naivete will most assuredly impact upon many potential Consumers who will (quietly) stop purchases and a slow diminishing of profits will be incurred by unwitting Business owners, who as they saying goes, “won a battle but lost the war”, as most assuredly caring less for unfortunate does go against the grain of many.  It may well impact upon some on Council seeking re-election, as this horrendous situation running out of control at the same ignorant political leadership will take a toll on politicians and business alike, who have sought to perpetuate indifference, mean-spirited governance and failure to address the homeless respectfully and effectively.


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