Category Archives: Addiction

In Regard to Housing First Abbotsford Failed to…..

Part IV of VI

Arrogance, can’t be bothered, impatience [which would be highly ironic seeing as their impatience has – to date – wasted more than 10 years], what they ‘know for sure’ that ain’t so, closed minds, that’s not what I want to hear, eventually someone will tell us what we want to hear right? lack of compassion, lack of caring …….

There are a multitude of reasons, singly or in combination, that could be responsible for why the politicians, bureaucrats and members of the homeless advisory ignore or are unable to comprehend that the only approach that has repeatedly – and with repeatability – demonstrated it’s effectiveness in enabling the homeless to regain control over their lives is Housing First.

Continue reading In Regard to Housing First Abbotsford Failed to…..

The Void – Wasted Lives

It isn’t the 8 years of ASDAC work disappearing into the Void of city hall, mayor and council.

It isn’t the 2+ years prior to the creation of ASDAC where the mayor and council “couldn’t do anything until they had a committee to advise them on social issues.”

It isn’t the years prior to this when Abbotsford “didn’t have a homeless problem/issue.”

It is the LIVES wasted by mayors and councils who refused and ignored their responsibilities and Duty of Care due the citizens of Abbotsford.

It is not just the lives of those who have died or are dying or committed suicide or are incarcerated or incapacitated.

It is the lives of those who remain homeless, on the streets, still using substances as a crutch to deal with life, mentally ill, capacity challenged, etc.

If – such a little word for a word that holds so much promise, potential, recovery, wellness……..OR……Pain [mental and physical], waste and damnation.

If mayors and councils had – or citizens had demanded and changed mayors and councils that didn’t – Abbotsford would have made the switch from recycling to recovery more than a decade ago. If….. then today Abbotsford would have the housing, supports and services in place – or at least a solid foundation to build on – to provide what is needed on the journey to recovery and wellness.

“All they have to do is decide….” It is not that easy to overcome all the barriers you face in: 1) achieving even minimal recovery and wellness; 2) getting everything in line that is required to get into housing; 3) managing to overcome/avoid all the pitfalls and traps that will dump you back on the street.

I have watched people struggle and fall, pick themselves up, struggle and fall…….until they finally made it into housing and/or treatment.

Only to emerge from treatment to find themselves effectively abandoned, left to fall back into self-medication, to fall from housing and into homelessness.

I have watched the hope and life die in their eyes as they sink back into self-medication, mental illness, homelessness and hopelessness.

Knowing that we as a society have the knowledge and understanding of what is needed to provide the supports and services necessary for people to achieve recovery and wellness. Knowing that that best practices exist elsewhere that provide the help that allows those with access to those best practice supports and services to recover and become well.

Watching the struggles, the pain, the waste of lives…..Because we as a city, a province, a society choose not to provide the help that we know – that experience has shown – will help our most vulnerable find recovery, wellness and reclaim their lives.

High Barrier Shelter?

I suppose that for individuals who live to inflict themselves on others it is a high barrier shelter.

Although, when I was homeless on the streets of Abbotsford and circumstances beyond my control made a night at the shelter unavoidable, I never found the standards of behaviour required of those guesting at the shelter onerous. But then I accept responsibility for my behaviour towards others.

I.        Non-prescription drugs and alcohol are not allowed on the premises.

II.        You cannot assault, threaten, abuse or infringe on the personal space of clients or staff.

III.        You need to take a shower.

I still don’t find the requirement to show basic consideration for those you are sharing the shelter space with either onerous or unreasonable.

Although doing away with the requirement that clients shower would save staff considerable hassle. In light of the number of requests clients make to staff about having others in the shelter shower and wash their clothing and the effort and time it takes for staff to get individuals to shower and wash their clothing, doing away with the showering requirement would be a relief. But doing away with the requirement to shower would inflict unfair tribulation on those in the shelter who choose to practice basic hygiene.

The two outbreaks of violence I have witnessed in the shelter, one were staff was physically attacked and the other where the building was vandalized, resulted from staff requesting that the attackers shower; requests made in response to complaints and requests of others in the shelter.

While being required to shower if you want to stay at the shelter is apparently considered by some to be an onerous requirement that presents a High Barrier to using the shelter, showering is about the health and comfort of ALL those using the shelter.

I am not sure what you have when people can party, assault, threaten, be odorous to the point others are gagging and make life miserable for all the others sharing the space……but I can tell you do you do not have a shelter.

x^3+y^3+z^3-3xyz-(x+y+z)(x^2+y^2+z^2-yz-zx-xy) = ?

“….the service providers who were temporarily at Jubilee Park Saturday…

What possible reason could there be for the service providers to be in Jubilee Park on what is normally a day off? Could it possibly be that they were there to help the protesters who had been ordered by the court to leave?

How dare they focus on helping the protesters they came in on a Saturday to help and suggest to non-protesters that they do what every other person seeking services does, go down Gladys to the Centre of Hope, enter the reception area, speak to the receptionist about the services they need, then sit down and wait their turn.

(4!+8)/4 + (2+3*4)^2 – 3^4 + (9+10)(15-21) + 7(17-15) = ?

Would those poor souls who are not being given access to their belongings be those who stated they wanted to stay at the shelter after they left Jubilee and asked for help getting their belongings packed and stored in the storage provided to those staying at the shelter?

Are we speaking of those little fibbers who said they wanted to stay at the shelter and who, once their belongings were packed, transported and stored in the storage provided for shelter clients – lost all interest in staying at the shelter?

An enquiry of shelter staff revealed that none of the shelter staff has refused these poor, unfortunate cozeners access to their belongings. Indeed shelter staff would be happy to reunite these rascals with their belongings and gain the room those belongings occupy for the belongings of individuals who are accessing the shelter and services.

Of course, given that the storage is provided for those staying in the shelter, the times when access is provided to items stored in the shelter storage are arranged to serve those staying in the shelter.

Should someone not staying at the shelter pop in during the day and demand access to their belongings they will be informed – as everyone is – that they need to speak to shelter staff. Shelter staff are, not surprisingly, available during the hours the shelter is operating.

What a concept, access hours to the storage provided for the belongings of those staying in  the shelter that are based on shelter hours so anyone staying in the shelter can access their belongings on a daily basis if needed.

E = mc^2

In speaking of not finding it onerous when I was homeless and forced to use the shelter I must acknowledge the significant benefit I have in dealing with people as a result of having a mother who drilled manners and consideration for others into her children. The same good manners and thoughtfulness that comes from being sat down during the Christmas holidays as a child and writing thank you letters for presents received [letters, not little thank you cards] has provided me with friends and others who are not only willing, but have stepped up, to help me not just survive but to thrive.

It’s either Yes – or Kiss the Money goodbye.

Bruce, John, Dave, Les, Patricia – you were paying attention weren’t you? You did hear what Finance Minister Mike de Jong stated so clearly?

Finance minister  Mike de Jong, in an November 28, 2013 interview with radio station 107.1, made it abundantly clear to Abbotsford’s citizens, mayor and council what the bottom line is for the proposed Housing First project at Abbotsford Community Services to help the homeless.

“It will be for the City Council to decide whether they want to accept the offer that the provincial government has made. I’m hopeful because I know how great the demands are. And if Abbotsford were to decide not to proceed then there are any number of communities that will be happy to take that money.”  Mike de Jong

Either the mayor and city council rezone the ACS property and the housing gets built OR the money will go to a community where the community, mayor and council actually want to do something to address homelessness and affordable housing in their community.

A community, mayor and council who are interested in doing, as in taking action, not simply uttering the right buzzwords or saying they want to do something but – wail, lament – Abbotsford has no money for the homeless; wealthy well housed, well connected old boy businessmen YES, but NONE for the homeless.

A community, mayor and council who, when the provincial government offers million$ of dollar$ for capital expenses and more million$ of dollar$ to fund operations and programs over the life of the project act quickly to do what is required to secure the funding for their community.

Unlike Abbotsford where the NIMBYs are guaranteed to say NIMBY you don’t; where far to many others in the community start coming up with excuses about how they are all for this type of project but…… needs to be located in the ‘perfect’ location and this is not it; where council begins looking for excuses to say NO, to NOT take the provincial governments money as soon as the project is publicly announced; where the mayor stands at the microphone at a public forum wailing about how the city is to poor and the senior levels of government have to ‘step up’ with funding……while at his right hand sit three representatives from BC Housing with million$ of dollar$ for capital costs and more millions$ of dollars$ for operations on the table.

Clarification: the money will go to a community, mayor and council who are interested in doing something positive and effective.

After all, Abbotsford’s mayor and council are interested in doing something about the homeless – attacking them with a poor man’s biological weapon of chicken feces; using their police force*** against the homeless; destroying the camps and belongings of the homeless – in the dead of winter.

In fact, based on behaviour to date, Abbotsford’s mayor and council seem interested in any action BUT an action that would be positive and effective.

A council that squanders million$ of dollar$ on vanity projects, seemingly wants to squander the opportunity to receive millions of dollar$ of provincial money, squander provincial goodwill and squander future funding of projects by the provincial government.

Business as usual at Abbotsford City Hall.

*** A police force that Justice Kathleen Ker referred to as “a place that time forgot” and stated such actions are “inexcusable in the 21st century.” Justice Ker also stated “The treatment Mr. Moonie received while in the custody of the APD fell not only below general community standards of decency, but it also reflects treatment that denied Mr. Moonie any modicum of respect for his inherent dignity and value as a human being,”.

A police force where it was necessary to: “Resolution reached over police tent-slashing in Abbotsford