By James Breckenridge.It isn’t the 8 years of ASDAC work disappearing into the Void of city hall, mayor and council.
It isn’t the 2+ years prior to the creation of ASDAC where the mayor and council “couldn’t do anything until they had a committee to advise them on social issues.”
It isn’t the years prior to this when Abbotsford “didn’t have a homeless problem/issue.”
It is the LIVES wasted by mayors and councils who refused and ignored their responsibilities and Duty of Care due the citizens of Abbotsford.
It is not just the lives of those who have died or are dying or committed suicide or are incarcerated or incapacitated.
It is the lives of those who remain homeless, on the streets, still using substances as a crutch to deal with life, mentally ill, capacity challenged, etc.
If – such a little word for a word that holds so much promise, potential, recovery, wellness……..OR……Pain [mental and physical], waste and damnation.
If mayors and councils had – or citizens had demanded and changed mayors and councils that didn’t – Abbotsford would have made the switch from recycling to recovery more than a decade ago. If….. then today Abbotsford would have the housing, supports and services in place – or at least a solid foundation to build on – to provide what is needed on the journey to recovery and wellness.
“All they have to do is decide….” It is not that easy to overcome all the barriers you face in: 1) achieving even minimal recovery and wellness; 2) getting everything in line that is required to get into housing; 3) managing to overcome/avoid all the pitfalls and traps that will dump you back on the street.
I have watched people struggle and fall, pick themselves up, struggle and fall…….until they finally made it into housing and/or treatment.
Only to emerge from treatment to find themselves effectively abandoned, left to fall back into self-medication, to fall from housing and into homelessness.
I have watched the hope and life die in their eyes as they sink back into self-medication, mental illness, homelessness and hopelessness.
Knowing that we as a society have the knowledge and understanding of what is needed to provide the supports and services necessary for people to achieve recovery and wellness. Knowing that that best practices exist elsewhere that provide the help that allows those with access to those best practice supports and services to recover and become well.
Watching the struggles, the pain, the waste of lives…..Because we as a city, a province, a society choose not to provide the help that we know – that experience has shown – will help our most vulnerable find recovery, wellness and reclaim their lives.