I just had a wake-up experience in how hard it is to actually get help for the homeless that has me shaking my head in stunned surprise.
I went down to the Tepee to see if I could get some food for anion there and was shocked to see my own brother (whom I hadn’t seen in almost 5 years) sitting there inside, looking like he had been through hell.
When he finally recognized me, he told me of what had happened to him and how drugs had totally stripped his life from him.
Determined to help, I immediately began looking for some place, ANY place that would take him in and provide treatment right away.
Of course, this was made even more difficult by the fact that my brother has a few mental health issues, but one would think that there MUST be somewhere, right?
Well, the sad truth is that NOWHERE that actually offered treatment within a 400 kilometer radius was there ANY place that would take him as is, but all wanted from 7 to 10 days of being clean before they would even consider it!
Sure, there are a few detox places where he could sit all day and go through the withdrawal sickness with no actual treatment being given, but that really wouldn’t solve the issue.
While I can understand the need for someone to be past the detox stage of dealing with addictions, it was saddening to find that the only place where he could go is 450+ kilometers up the Fraser Canyon.
Needless to say, I had a long drive yesterday (10 hours in all), but he is now there where he can get the help he needs.
It’s a sad commentary on Abbotsford that even when these marginalized people want immediate help, there is nothing here for them but closed doors and the expectation that they can “get and stay clean” for a week to 10 days while leaving them right where they are, in the same place where the problem began and continues to be.
Perhaps if we rallied together and made certain that there was a place where people like my brother could’ve gone, right here in Abbotsford, there wouldn’t be so many hopeless and hurting homeless here.
Oh wait…we tried to do that and Mayor Banman cast the vote that shot it down already.
The way I see it anyway.