By Carrie Besko. While avidly following the current development in regards to the proposed housing project in Abbotsford BC I was fortunate to be able to discuss the topic with possibly my favorite University Professor, Darren Blakeborough: Sociology/Media Studies Instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley, and Author of: “Old people are Useless: Representations of aging on the Simpsons.”
I asked Darren about his impression on the current situation spreading in Abbotsford and its possible outcome. He was kind enough to offer a thoughtful response for the Decibel:
“While I can’t speak directly to all of the details currently occurring in Abbotsford as my only relation to it is primarily through news reports, I did undertake a research project on homelessness in Chilliwack in 2006-2007 for the Chilliwack Social Research and Planning Council. Over that period I spoke to many homeless individuals about their experiences ranging from housing, to services, to needs. While housing is a significant concern for many it is but a part of the larger equation.
Mental health issues and addiction issues are but two of the other concerns that need to be a consideration for any comprehensive program that wants to tackle homelessness. As we continue to see funding levels for social services decreasing it puts undue strain on volunteers and other organizations to meet this population’s needs. It seems to me from what I’ve read about Abbotsford’s situation that this is the multi-faceted approach that Abbotsford Community Services is wanting to undertake and it seems appropriate.
One thing that emerged in our research was the need to make services easy to access and easy to use. If the area where this project is proposed to be built is in the area where the majority of existing services are and in the area where a concentration of this population is already living, then this is where it should likely be built.
This can’t be another example of moving the issue elsewhere as hard decisions have to be made in order to finally address a problem in our society that affects us all in a myriad of ways, both social and economic.”
I am incredibly thankful to Darren Blakeborough for the time and thought he put into his response.
Carrie Besko is the Editor of The Deroche Decibel. The Decibel is a newsletter based out of Deroche, British Columbia. We feature local and nearby events, local businesses and resources, family and gardening tips, entertainment and tech news and much more. Our aim is to involve the community as much as possible through writing contests and an open invitation for feedback, comments and writing contributions. We hope it is as much fun to read as it is to write! This is an ongoing learning experience, so please send all feedback to email@example.com