By Walter Neufeld. Comment Of The Week. You’re* suggesting these members of our community be brought to a place where they get fixed, against their will. That’s been tried in the past by our provincial government but with mixed results.
The gamut of jail (you will remember our own Matsqui prison was built specifically for drug addicts), Essendale (with all attendant horror stories that happened there), etc were used to force people to git-right but that didn’t work so the provincial government shut many of those places down and diverted people to the street for communities to take care of.
What does it mean to be homeless and helpless, Pete? You assume they can or should somehow help themselves in-spite-of the fact that they are crippled & helpless for a variety of reasons.
Or, alternatively, that they should be brought to a facility where the fix would happen. Those expectations presume they’re not helpless. The homeless and substance addicted persons’ ability to self-help is on the lower end of the continuum and is expressed by their homelessness and/or drug addiction. There is no one-thing that will fix them and no specific timeline that it might happen in. To provide the potential for it to happen two things are required I believe, “opportunity/options/help” and “personal capacity”.
To date, City Council has been happy to withhold “opportunity/options/help” and instead shoo the homeless where? And how does that enhance the “personal capacity” of these at risk people? For starters, I support Abbotsford Community Services’ Transition House initiative. It is a comprehensive, cost effective plan which offers “opportunity/options/help” to help underpin at risk peoples ability to build up their “personal capacity” for a more humane life. Secondly, I support a graduated approach to homelessness and drug addiction.
Many of those options can be found on Facebook page “Abbotsfordians for Transition House Downtown.”
Bottom line for me is this, people at risk need to be treated as though they were family. That, in my view, is the story that is being told here and so far we ain’t doin’ so good telling it.”
*The above comment was in response to comments in a long string on a column called “Where Do You Want Them To Go Bruce? on our Facebook page debating the issue of forcing the Drug War Survivors protesters out of Jubilee Park.
Cover Photo: The Face Of Abbotsford’s Homeless. Abbotsford citizen Nick Zurowski. Bas Stevens Photo