Maple Ridge social service study underway

An update into an ongoing study about social service needs in Maple Ridge shows higher dissatisfaction ratings when...

An update into an ongoing study about social service needs in Maple Ridge shows higher dissatisfaction ratings when it comes to housing the homeless and seniors.

Meanwhile, housing for First Nations, refugees and the LGBTQ community was considered more adequate, based on a survey of social service and health organization leaders in Maple Ridge.

Scott Graham of the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C., was at council last week to give an update of the project, which surveyed the opinions of those who do the helping in Maple Ridge.

Twenty-six representatives from groups, such as the Salvation Army or Alouette Addictions Services answered the survey.

When it comes to mental health – services for youth, family and women had the highest ratings of inadequacy. About 21 of those who responded considered those population sectors under-serviced.

The survey also rated the adequacy of services for substance use. Services to youth and women were rated the most inadequate, with 16 of the respondents giving that description.

Coun. Craig Speirs objected to the term “substance use,” saying instead the word should be addiction.

“It’s about addiction. Research shows that roots of addiction come from childhood and life trauma.

“We keep missing the mark on this.”

Trauma makes kids vulnerable “so they have that little seed inside them that has them looking for escape.

“So for me, the more we can focus on children and their needs around trauma and life’s challenges, I think the better we’ll do in the long run.”

Coun. Kiersten Duncan said anyone who’s looking for mental health treatment faces an intimidating process of having to wait in a office that’s clearly labelled as providing mental health services.

Mayor Nicole Read repeated her call of having better data to understand homelessness and how people move in and out of shelters, saying that the Metro Vancouver homeless count is flawed.

And different agencies competing for grants means there’s no sharing of information.

“We have seen a decline in treatment beds for youth,” said Coun. Tyler Shymkiw.

The final report of the study will conclude the project started last summer.