Homelessness – Low Barrier Housing

Although it seemed the opening of the modular housing on River Road  in Abbotsford would endlessly move into the future, it was inevitable that at some point the building would have residents.

With the building open and people moved in perhaps soimeone could fanswer the question: what’s the plan?

I have never heard or seen a clear, thought out and defined goal [or goals] of what we seek to achieve in regards to homelessness and associated challenges such as addiction.

If sending people to treatment or placing people in housing was effective, then according to the number of people sent through treatment centres such as Kinghaven added to the number of people placed in housing we should have a negative number of homeless people on our streets. A rather mind boggling concept.

Evaluating the outcomes of the policies and actions of BC government agencies with respect to homelessness and substance use over the past several decades shows that BC has created a system recycling the homeless and those with substance issues through the system time after time

Unless it was the goal of BC’s government to increase the homeless population on the streets of BC our current policies and programs have been at best ineffective.

The ineffectiveness of the government’s policies on homelessness and substance use testifies to the truth of Martin Luther King’s

The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”

A creatively maladjusted polymath would not assume that placing someone in housing means they will remain housed or that because someone completed treatment they will remain sober.

Particularly in light of recent studies in the USA of stand-alone treatment programs such as Kinghaven showing you can achieve the same results doing nothing.

Should a creatively maladjusted polymath have made such a blunder they would have quickly been corrected when quality control showed the number of homeless in the lower mainland should be a negative

A creatively maladjusted polymath is going to want a clearly stated and defined goal in order to be able to understand what is necessary to achieve the goal, to layout the steps required to achieve the goal, determine and muster the resources needed. A clear goal enables one to determine whether your actions are effective [do they achieve the goal] and how efficient [how well, what percentage] are your actions in achieving your goal.

What is BC housing seeking to achieve with low barrier housing?

Simply providing low barrier housing will be no more effective at enabling the residents to achieve stability than the current system of recycling the homeless has been.


Or does BC Housing simply plan to build low barrier modular housing sufficient to provide housing for every present and future homeless person?

Reality Alert – low barrier housing does not meet the needs of all those who are homeless or will become homeless.

If your goal is simply to place people in housing or to run them through treatment, then our current homeless/addiction recycling system achieves that goal.

If your goal is to enable people to achieve stability in housing and sobriety, then the current system of recycling people is a dismal, money wasting failure.

Critical thinking shows there is no fast easy solution to homelessness but there is an approach that has repeatedly demonstrated it is effective in enabling people to become stable in their housing and their sobriety.

Housing First – providing supports and services and not simply throwing them into housing – is the only approach research and outcomes experienced show to be effective in enabling people to achieve stability.

That Housing First is effective in Canada was demonstrated by the outcomes experienced in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver during the 5 year, $110 million research study funded by Canada’s federal government and conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Bonus: a toolbox was created from the experiences gained and lessons learned running the five Housing First programs to assist anyone interested in effectively addressing homelessness and related issues.

The question is not whether we can effectively enable people to become stable in housing and sobriety, but why we continue to ignore the evidence and endlessly repeat over and over what outcomes experienced have demonstrated to be totally ineffective behaviour.

Insanity? Or Stupidity?

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