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.
The one definite statement about the lack of knowledge and understanding of homelessness and Housing First evident in the words, actions and behaviours of Abbotsford’s politicians, bureaucrats and the homeless advisory is that it is not because of a lack of opportunity to learn about Housing First .
Abbotsford’s politicians, bureaucrats and the homeless advisory have been presented with, and ignored, many opportunities to learn about Housing First; the results Housing First achieves, the how and why of Housing First’s effectiveness and how to create and implement an effective Housing First Action Plan for Abbotsford.
Those involved with Housing First in Lethbridge Alberta came to Abbotsford and shared with the City of Abbotsford their experience with creating, implementing and managing Housing First in Lethbridge and the rest of Alberta.
Lethbridge was also in Burnaby as part of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s [MHCC] two day learning opportunity. Speaking with those from Lethbridge about the experience in Lethbridge and Alberta with Housing First the subject of their visit to Abbotsford came up. The discussion of that visit made it clear that in order to be as uninformed as Abbotsford’s politicians, bureaucrats and homeless advisory are about Housing First, they either failed to listen or ignored what Lethbridge had shared
There was a citizen of Abbotsford who had no interest in or knowledge of homelessness until city council rejected BC Housing’s multi-million dollar funding for Abbotsford Community Services to provide housing, supports and services to enable the homeless to transition from being homeless to having and maintaining housing.
The rejection made this citizen aware of the issue of homelessness in Abbotsford and resulted in her to setting out to rectify her lack of knowledge. She spoke to the Homeless Task Force to share that her research had shown Housing First was the only approach that reduced the number of homeless and what she had learned about Housing First and its implementation.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada [MHCC] held a two day learning opportunity in Burnaby where they presented the results of the Canadian federal government’s $110,000,000.00 five year research study on using Housing First to reduce homeless numbers.
Not a single Abbotsford politician, bureaucrat or homeless advisory member attended either day of the learning opportunity.
MHCC presented the interim and final reports for the 5 Housing First programs [Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver] and the final report for the project in its entirety. Then shared the experiences, knowledge and understanding gained over the 5 years of the research study; shared the techniques and tools used and learned over the 5 years; shared and explored the online toolbox – available to anyone – that was built using the experience, knowledge, understanding, techniques and tools gained during the research study.
A toolbox designed to help in creating and implementing a Housing First Action Plan that would match the resources and needs of their community and be effective in reducing homelessness in their community.
A toolbox that acts as a guide to ensure all the facets [supports and services] required for a Housing First program to be effective in permanently housing the homeless and breaking the cycle of simply recycling the homeless, the mentally ill and those struggling with substance use through the system time after time after time as is currently done.
Some of the individuals and organizations who were part of the research study in Vancouver shared their experience with housing first and answered questions about their experience. Some of the individuals who were involved with the research study are mow part of the new Housing First program in Vancouver.
These organizations and individuals are another valuable knowledge and information resource ignored by Abbotsford.
The just hired co-ordinator responsible for hiring the staff and managing the new Abbotsford/Mission Fraser Mental Health ACT team was there and a good discussion was held on the plans for the ACT team and the resources the team would have available.
Members of the team responsible for the research portion of the study made a presentation about the study, the outcomes and what was learned and then answered questions from those in attendance.
The knowledge and experience presented at the learning opportunity was invaluable in enabling those in attendance to be able to create and implement a Housing First Action Plan for their communities that would be effective in addressing and reducing homelessness in their community.
Even if one was not aware that Abbotsford didn’t seize the opportunity presented by the MHCC learning opportunity, the actions and behaviours of the City of Abbotsford and its minions make clear the lack of knowledge, the wilful ignorance about what Housing First is and what is required to create and implement an effective Housing First program, highlight the fact that the City of Abbotsford has failed to do its homework on homelessness, mental illness, poverty, substance use and Housing First.
End Part IV of VI
Facts? Change My Mind? Learn? Reality?