Support for supportive housing

When are some people going to stop confusing homelessness with drug addiction and public safety?

There is a mistaken belief being promoted in our community that homelessness is equated with drug addiction.

There is very little connection between the two. Studies of the issue report that drug addiction among the homeless is in the range of only 10 to 15 per cent. The vast majority of homeless are not addicts.

The recent survey by the Oceanside task Force on Homelessness shows that 75 per cent of the homeless are longterm residents of the community.

They are our citizens, they live here.

There are many reasons for people becoming homeless. These range from escaping domestic abuse to mental illness to chronic unemployment. What they all have in common is extreme poverty.

What they all need is the dignity of a place to stay that is warm, dry and safe where they have a chance to get their lives together.

To quote a homeless person I recently talked with; “I can’t look for a job with nowhere to get cleaned up so that I don’t smell like concrete”.

Supportive housing following the Housing First model has a proven track record across Canada as the most effective approach to help the homeless.

Let’s get behind this project and show that we are a community that cares. In the upcoming election let’s do the right thing and vote for a mayor and council who want to have supportive housing in our community,

Doreen Mundy

Parksville

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