Release . Paul MacLeod, former president of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) announced today the formation of the Abbotsford Dignitarian Society, a registered non-profit society devoted solely to addressing the needs of the homeless in the community.
“This community has been through a great deal due the homelessness which exists here, not least of which the men and women who are most affected – the homeless,” says MacLeod.
“We are making an attempt to accomplish what has almost never been accomplished in this community – meaningful action,” he says.
MacLeod says that the Society has two primary short-term goals:
1) Addressing the immediate needs of the homeless including: food, toilets and garbage
2) A Dignity Village-style housing solution providing a safe place for as many homeless people as possible
According to MacLeod, the Society is made up a varied group of people from business owners, homelessness advocates, and members of the general public who are intent on achieving results.
“The Society does not represent one solution, one belief or one point of view on the problems face by our fellow citizens suffering from poverty, a lack of shelter, drug or alcohol issues or mental illness,” says MacLeod.
“One of the commitments we made from the beginning was to involve members of the homeless community in coming up with solutions. We’re proud of the fact we have a large number of homeless men and women on our board,” he says.
“We have come together to explore all possible solutions to a crisis which must end. Old approaches to the issues surrounding homeless in Abbotsford have not worked. New ideas are needed,” he says.
The Society will be posting all of its financial information – money raised, money spent, projects, purchases … expenditure of any kind – on a website which is being built. MacLeod says one of the keys to the Society’s success will be that it is an open and transparent organization.
The Society received a commitment from the ADBA for $10,000 in seed money on a motion at their AGM in March of this year by former president Bob Bos.
According to MacLeod, representatives from the Abbotsford Dignitarian Society will be before Mayor Banman’s Task Force on Homelessness when it meets June 26.