Chris O’Brian

O’Brian : Outreach worker favours treatment-based housing

#MRvotes2018: Works with homeless and addicted

Chris O’Brian, for council.

• Occupation:

I currently work with the homeless and addicted in Vancouver.

• Reason for running:

The reason I’m running for council is because I love this city, and having lived here since 2006, I wanted to see some lasting positive changes for my family and other families for many years in the future. I have noticed in the last four years, little change from our municipal government, except for greater urban sprawl, homelessness and traffic congestion.

The current mayor stated she would “resolve” the homeless issue four years ago. In fact, it has become much worse. Since 2014, the homeless population has increased by 48 per cent. By delaying their access to housing, more homeless people have joined those at Anita Place Tent City. I plan to give them access to effective treatment once they are housed at the new modular housing and other housing placements using the Recovery-Based Treatment Model.

Having worked in mental health and addictions for over 20 years and with my extensive education and background, I’m well suited to advocate for change in this area. I propose that the treatment teams have their office inside the modular housing on Royal Crescent to have close and continual access to those with addiction issues. I also will lobby the provincial government on their promise of building more treatment centres here in Maple Ridge. And I will advocate for additional types of treatment. In addition to drug and alcohol counselling, I will propose psychosocial rehabilitation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and an expansion of their support networks to allow them to build resiliency and have hope. They need to be engaged in treatment early on and it must be long-term.

• Political experience/qualifications for running in this election:

I feel that I am qualified to run for councillor as I have an extensive education and background working in mental health and additions. I currently work with the homeless and addicted in Vancouver. I have a BA in psychology with a minor in economics. I also have a B.Sc. in psychiatric nursing. I also volunteer with the Haney Farmers’ Market, the Friends in Need Food Bank, and am an usher at MRAC.

• Reason for running:

N/A

• What do you consider to be the top two issues in this election and how would you address them?

The two main concerns facing Maple Ridge are the homelessness crisis and poor public transportation. I would move away from the model currently used by B.C. Housing for those who are street entrenched and addicted and use a treatment and recovery-based model.

With transportation, I recommend a B-Line bus directly to Coquitlam Centre, extending more bus service to communities like Silverdale and Albion, and bringing in ride-sharing options.

www.chrisobrian.ca.

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