Everywhere I go in the Lower Mainland, there are people living in squalor and filth, on public lands and on private lands.  Abbotsford has been in the news most often, which is odd since the problem is so widespread.

Today I met a fellow who described at some length (from insider knowledge) the opulent lives of folk high in our BC government.  The salary paid is paltry compared to the generous life styles they grant themselves, on tax-payer dollars.  Alison Redford is by no means the only government official with an inflated sense of entitlement,…. to our hard-earned money.

Money flows so easily among government officials who find legal ways to dip into the public purse.  How different life would be for everyone if honesty and integrity and quality results were expected of all public servants.

Some of my friends care deeply, and none are paid to care.

Excerpts from a running discourse on homelessness:

Homeless ‘camps‘ will never be safe for the surrouding communities until the reason for the state of a person being homeless being found due to addictions and mental illness, is addressed.

Welfare cheques are insufficient to cover the cost of the booze and drugs that render people unable to provide for their own needs.  So they steal, or resort to selling sex, whether their own, or someone else’s body, to generate the funds needed to feed the addiction.

The solution lies in helping people climb out of these prisons of addiction.  Restrain their forays into theft and crime to feed the monsters within.

The MISERY INDUSTRY has no real desire for a solution.  The keepers, like Marc Townsend and the Portland Hotel Society, and Jenny Kwan who live lives of opulence on money intended for the poor and needy, remind me of parasites that live off the body of their ‘living’ host.  Why did Rich Coleman, or anyone in authority investigate this sucking off of money designated for the poor?  Why even when the evidence was overwhelming that money was siphoned off to support lavish life styles for ‘the caregivers’,…….even then NO criminal charges were laid.  That makes it look as if scrutiny is unwelcome in a lot more government departments.   –  Gerda

(friend’s comment) 

The Gladys camps at roadside are not safe places to habitat and the conditions of the camps have

deteriorated to point of a health hazard.  We all become comfortable to what we are used to, but, there is a time

when change becomes a good thing.

(friend) The problem is:  where will these people move to?   They will not use the parks, because it would mean being out

every am…and that will not happen.

The courts just created a bigger problem for the municipalities….they need to make a lot of noise at the govt level

for funding for housing ie:  container housing and muni’s need to consider Dignity style villages.

 (friend)  But it isn’t just the addictions that are the rulers, it’s the illnesses.  ANY and EVERY mental illness requires therapy.  The specialists have always said that none of the psychiatric meds work very well without therapy.  None of the anti-depressants work well, if at all, for garden-variety everyday blues, without therapy.  In fact, as far as anxiety, mild depression, OCD, autism and a number of other illnesses go, for the vast majority of patients meds alone do NOT work but therapy alone does.  The best is a combo, but success is unlikely without the therapy.  We had numerous specialists speak  – and they were all adamant that therapy was REQUIRED.  The plethora of news articles echo that.

So, let’s say you’re homeless and it’s because you haven’t worked in a long while because of severe anxiety and panic attacks.  You’ve been on meds for a couple of years but they haven’t worked and the cost has contributed to your inability to pay rent.  Now you’re on the street and some street worker assures you that they can place you in a clean, safe room situation.  Yea!  And the government will pay for your meds (I highly doubt this is readily available to all but let’s pretend here).  Yea!  And so you are in that room, safe and clean and fed, with severe anxieties unabated, you can’t go out, can’t work, can’t sleep, contemplate suicide, but everybody has washed their hands of you because they’ve fixed the problem: your homelessness.  It’s only a matter of time before an intelligent person starts taking street drugs to stop the madness inside.  I probably would.  And then mayhem starts and you’re booted out of the home and – ta da! – back on the street.  Because the government DOES NOT pay for therapy.  They recommend it, they prescribe it, but don’t pay for it, and compared to the cost of even the most expensive meds, therapy is much higher, if continued for a long while (which is likely quite necessary).

Services.  That’s the only thing that will solve the problem.  Housing first is not my favourite mantra.  I feel so awful seeing the homeless in their shitty camps as it is abominable that humans are forced to live that way when we have the means and ability to provide them with the services they need.  But I cannot support bandaid solutions when I know they won’t work in the end.  Once the homeless are in those apartments they will be forgotten but their private hells will continue.

We did not have homelessness before, not to the extent that anyone could see it.  Maybe it wasn’t a pleasant life at Riverview but it sure beat what we’re seeing now.  We had the problem solved in a way, before, and we can return to that, it isn’t a “housing or nothing” issue.  We can bring back those services and expand on them to make them humane and complete.  But the will isn’t there.  Given all that, I don’t understand a housing committee instead of a pressure-the-government-to-provide-services committee.  Well, I do understand it, because the housing issue is far more sexy than advocating billions of dollars spent in making people feel better about themselves and the latter is a sure path to a politician’s early and unwanted retirement.