Send your letter to the editor via email to news@langleyadvancetimes.com and include your first and last name, address, and phone number. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@langleyadvancetimes.com and include your first and last name, address, and phone number. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)

LETTER: Maple Ridge woman suggests different help for different kinds of homeless people

Homelessness and addiction often go hand in hand, local woman says

Dear Editor,

Outline to address current situation with housing and homelessness

As we have seen the solution is not a “one size fits all” proposition. As someone who has been homeless most of my life due to trauma and addiction, has now been sober 14 years, I hope to change your perception a little and perhaps illustrate how the current structures in place could be repurposed to unclog the bottle neck that seems to have resulted at the modular supported housing. I realize this is a simplistic version and that it would need more than just an outline.

Triage would be done by outreach workers to assess what is the best resolution for a particular person and placing them in one of four categories.

• Persons with no serious mental illness or addiction.

These people could be housed in hotels for three to six months while client and workers on site work together with BC Housing to gain suitable (subsidized) housing for a period of up to three years.

After two years’ time, with notice and assessment, people could be weaned off the subsidy or moved to a BC Housing property.

• Persons with addiction issues

Modulars at one of the three sites in Maple Ridge could be repurposed as a detox/treatment center and staffed accordingly.

Some people could be connected with a safe drug supply and stabilized.

Those that wish to attain abstinence from their addiction could complete a treatment program on site. A Twelve Step approach would invite sober members in the community to participate and facilitate a reconnection to community.

Some could then be moved to position one, (hotel) to await subsidized housing. Others could be moved to supported housing if needed.

• Persons with a dual diagnosis of mental health and/or addiction issues.

Modulars at one of the three sites in Maple Ridge could be repurposed as a detox/treatment center and staffed accordingly.

Specialized groups to address both addiction and mental health issues simultaneously. Treating one at a time often sets client up to “see saw” between addiction and mental health symptoms.

People who are then stabilized could be moved to position one to find housing: The hotel to await subsidized housing. Others could then be moved to supported housing.

• Persons who do not wish to participate and demand to stay in their camps.

Find a property where power and water can be easily installed, Bathrooms with showers attached to a small building where there are one security person and two outreach workers 24/7.

Provide harm reduction and emergency assistance

Attempt to connect persons with safe drug supply

Treatment available to them 24-7 on demand. When they ask for help, they are immediately taken into one of the above-mentioned facilities.

Allow volunteers to assist campers, criminal record check to work with vulnerable people is encouraged.

There would be some re-organization required and persons working with our vulnerables need to work from a trauma-informed perspective. Not only would this approach alleviate the bottle neck in the current system of things, it would also alleviate employee burn out as clients will no longer feel unheard and stuck, employees will be doing the work they love to do – actually helping people.

Marina Kossen RPC-c, Maple Ridge

• READ MORE: Activits arrested camping at Maple Ridge city hall not charged

• READ MORE: Homelessness activities march through local streets

.


Do you have an opinion you’d like to share? Please send us a letter to the editor, including your first and last name, street address, and phone number. Email: editor@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

HomelessnessLetter to the Editorstreet drugs