Panels of experts selected for Maple Ridge talks on homelessness

Community Dialogues arranged for October and November.

  • Oct. 14, 2016 2:00 p.m.

The City of Maple Ridge has lined up a list of speakers for four community dialogues on homelessness.

The first session, on Thursday, Oct. 20, is titled “W5: The Who, What, When, Where and Why of Homelessness.”

Dr. Paul Kershaw and Dr. Mike Krausz, with the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Services, as well as Navjeet Chhina and Mike Pond will comprise the panel that first evening and will discuss the causes of homelessness.

They’ll also discuss youth and senior homelessness and will provide easy-to-understand information.

On the second night, Wednesday, Oct. 26, the evening will focus on legal aspects.

Ridge Meadows RCMP Supt. Dave Fleugel, Lisa Spitale, chief administrator with the City of New Westminster, and lawyer James Yardley will address moral and legal issues of helping the homeless.

“This session will examine the constant struggle to balance individual liberty and the collective responsibility for shelter and housing services,” according to the city.

The third evening, on Thursday, Nov. 3, is titled: Understanding Mental Health and Addictions.

Rob Thiessen, with the Hope for Freedom Society, Dr. Glen Grigg, clinical counsellor, and Mark Goheen, clinical specialist with Fraser Health, will discuss “evidence-based and promising practices,” in the field.

The final forum, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, is titled Housing Solutions, and will discuss the practices of dealing with homelessness and the roles of government.

All of the sessions take place between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Pre-registration isn’t required.

The forums are intended to increase awareness about homelessness, as the city, along with B.C. Housing, proceeds with a new homeless shelter and housing complex planned for 21375 Lougheed Hwy.

However, Maple Ridge has said it no longer wants to lead the public consultation on the project if MLAs Doug Bing and Marc Dalton have the final approval.