Editorial: Still need more

There seems no shortage of armchair solutions to the problem of homelessness. Were it only that easy.

There seems no shortage of armchair solutions to the problem of homelessness.

Were it only that easy.

Last week, the City of Chilliwack announced another attempt to find an answer – this time marshaling local resources while tapping into the collective strength of the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

Critics quickly dismissed the effort, citing what they see as a litany of failed attempts and insincere tries.

In fact, Chilliwack has made significant gains in addressing the issue. Five years ago the 23 transitional units in the Chilliwack Health and Housing Centre didn’t exist. There were no transitional and emergency shelter beds (44 in total) at Ruth and Naomi’s. The 33 units at The Village on School Street had yet to be built. And the four emergency shelter beds for at risk youth at the Cyrus Centre were also only a dream.

In all, there are currently 142 transitional beds, as well as 22 emergency shelter beds in the city. There has also been an increase in options that provide greater affordability.

Is that enough?

Clearly not.

But to suggest no effort has been made to help people get off the streets is simply wrong.

The fact that there are people still living under bridges and sleeping in city parks illustrates the complexity of the issue.

Part of that complexity is sorting out responsibility.

Municipalities are not equipped, nor were they ever intended, to fund and provide complex social services for their residents. This has traditionally been the purview of other levels of government.

And yet, after the federal and provincial governments essentially abandoned the field, this is where cities like Chilliwack find themselves.

Unlike some communities, Chilliwack has stepped up to fill that gap. Private citizens, businesses and politicians have worked behind the scenes to find long-term solutions that will work within the limited parametres of a municipal mandate.

They understand more needs to be done.

But they also know it will take more than an unwanted couch dumped under a bridge, or pithy online comments, to fix the problem. It will take a collective community effort – and pressure on higher levels of government to do their part.

– Black Press

 

Just Posted

Maple Ridge senior facing homelessness at the end of the month

Jean Ticehurst can’t find affordable housing

Debate goes on about nutrition and autism in Maple Ridge

Spoke Wednesday at the Chrysta Learning Centre

UPDATE: Car plunges down embankment in Maple Ridge

Two people injured in morning incident

New rail underpass and overpass comes with costs

Pitt Meadows residents will see 0.75 per cent tax increase for rail crossings

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, vehicle crashes

Happened in early evening, injuries unknown

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read