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How to solve homeless issue?

The $13 billion Ottawa just gifted to Volkswagen would have gone a long way to addressing our homeless situation.


“More than 235,000 people in Canada experience homelessness in any given year, and 25,000 to 35,000 people may be experiencing homelessness on any given night.”

Let’s assume Canada has 100,000 people sleeping outside, of which half are suffering from mental illness or addiction issues. $13 billion would equal $130,000 available to house these people, which should be sufficient or at least a good start if focused on group home layouts rather than 100,000 condos. So, Ottawa negotiates with the Provinces and Territories to make housing a constitutional right and fronts $13 billion initial investment.
 
The $13 billion Ottawa just gifted to Volkswagen would have gone a long way to addressing our homeless situation.


“More than 235,000 people in Canada experience homelessness in any given year, and 25,000 to 35,000 people may be experiencing homelessness on any given night.”

Let’s assume Canada has 100,000 people sleeping outside, of which half are suffering from mental illness or addiction issues. $13 billion would equal $130,000 available to house these people, which should be sufficient or at least a good start if focused on group home layouts rather than 100,000 condos. So, Ottawa negotiates with the Provinces and Territories to make housing a constitutional right and fronts $13 billion initial investment.

I thought homelessness was bad in Toronto, ( which is ) But i was in Vancouver a couple weeks ago, holy crap what a sh*t hole that city has become. It's like every second person downtown was either homeless or on drugs.

10 years ago or so, i would have moved to Vancouver in a heart beat if i had the money. I loved that city, but now you couldn't pay me to move there.
 
I thought homelessness was bad in Toronto, ( which is ) But i was in Vancouver a couple weeks ago, holy crap what a sh*t hole that city has become. It's like every second person downtown was either homeless or on drugs.
When fentanyl became popular I assumed the number of fatalities within the addicted homeless population would exceed the replacement rate, thus reducing the issue. But the population growth of the addicted homeless seems to be accelerating faster than the exit rate. So, the addicted homelessness issue is not going away.
 
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My opinion remains that some form of institutionalization needs to be brought back, because the contemporary faux-liberal (in reality laissez-faire libertarian) approach to homelessness is actually misrepresenting liberalization policies like in Portugal, and is instead allowing vulnerable people to be preyed on by the unscrupulous. Just providing more 'street services' without any requirements doesn't necessarily lead to a reduction in homelessness, it just makes it easier to live on the streets, as can be seen in cities where these approaches have been pursued to their maximalist extents (like in SF, LA, and Vancouver).

Likewise, there really needs to be a push to improve the security of the precariously housed/employed, and to find housing for the upper layers of homeless (aka the recently homeless ones), to prevent the stress of street living from impacting their health and mental state- the CoL issues in Toronto have really eroded what were traditionally low-CoL buffers (rooming houses, motels) for the most vulnerable bottomost layers of our society.

Involuntary treatment for addiction and mental illness is a tough call. But failing to provide it is cruel​

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
PUBLISHED APRIL 22, 2023
More than three decades ago, British Columbia’s politicians made the decision to end the practice of warehousing the mentally ill. The notorious Riverview Hospital, where patients were subjected to forced sterilizations and other indignities, was shuttered, and was supposed to be replaced with community-based, recovery-oriented care.

The second part of that plan, like too many places in Canada, was executed as a half-measure, at best. The government of the day promised a mental health care system that would be “one of the finest anywhere.” That didn’t happen. The province’s auditor-general later found that B.C. had no clear plan, no standards of care, and not even a handle on the number of people needing treatment.

Decades later, the results are sadly obvious. A relentless crisis of homelessness and untreated mental illness and addiction in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and elsewhere across the country, alongside a wave of random violent attacks in Canadian cities, is leading to political pressure to take a new look at involuntary treatment.

British Columbia is pinning its hopes on a model of care quite literally built on the past. The Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, which treats the most complex cases, is constructed on the grounds of Riverview. A majority of patients – 60 per cent – have been sent to the 105-bed facility without their consent.


B.C.’s NDP Premier David Eby, a former civil liberties lawyer who championed clients from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, is a surprising advocate for involuntary care. He argues that the infringement of liberty is justified when the alternative is leaving individuals with mental health and addiction challenges to a miserable existence on the streets, at risk of death or brain damage by overdose.

Failing to intervene in such cases, he said, is cruel.


Mr. Eby’s choice of words is entirely apt and underscores the moral question at the heart of this new push for involuntary care. Should a person in a mental health crisis, who poses a risk to themselves or others, have the right to refuse treatment? Mr. Eby’s answer is that a compassionate, medically grounded response does not always require consent.

Alberta’s United Conservative Party government is looking to go further than B.C., as The Globe and Mail has reported. The province is considering the introduction of the “Compassionate Intervention Act,” which would be Canada’s first involuntary treatment law that specifically targets drug addictions. The UCP, with its focus on the issues of crime and social order, may have different reasons, but it is eyeing a similar path as the NDP in B.C.

Critics of Alberta’s proposals (including provincial NDP Leader Rachel Notley) have assailed the yet-to-be-written law as unconstitutional, ineffective and cruel. Ms. Notley wrote that “effective and lasting treatment meets people where they’re at.”

Those critics are ignoring the obvious: If someone has been robbed of their agency through addiction or illness, the cruellest possible act is to leave them to drown on their own. Mr. Eby, with his impeccable progressive credentials, has come to this realization.

There is an important caveat to any increase in involuntary care. Support for prevention, early intervention and treatment must be the main focus. Involuntary care can only be a stopgap when all else has failed. Sadly, those failures are rampant.


The Red Fish facility is tackling the worst of those failings. Its patients have exhausted other treatment options. Many have been violent either with health care staff or while committing a crime on the street. All of them are battling severe addictions to drugs. The facility offers intensive, months-long treatment, but the true test will be how patients fare once they are discharged, and those results are not yet in.

Mr. Eby says the province needs more facilities like Red Fish. That is in keeping with the recommendations of an expert panel commissioned by his government to study repeat offenders and random stranger attacks. While the panel called for a new kind of involuntary rehabilitation facility for those who present a risk of harm to others, it also urged the province to spend a lot more on mental health programs.

Bigger and better mental health supports are needed, but involuntary care has a role to play in some cases. To fail to provide it would be, to use Mr. Eby’s word, cruel.
(Archive)

A redditor shares their experience:
I do not have a subscription, so I cannot read the article.

But I have first hand experience of having a family member with Schizoaffective disorder.

There is zero support for family members. All we can do is call the police, they take him to the hospital and he is not even admitted. We have been on this roller coaster for years, but the last three weeks have been hell.

What are the costs?

Multiple calls to the RCMP on a daily basis with between 1 and 3 cars responding each time.

Multiple trips to the hospital with nothing being done.

Missed days of work and a physical medical emergency for another family member due to the stress.

A car accident.

Two years ago it took 3 weeks of escalating behaviour and the involvement of three police departments after multiple 911 calls by concerned citizens to get him admitted to a psych ward. He had tried twice to admit himself, but was turned away.

He is terrified by his hallucinations, he desperately wants help, he is certain meds are poison when his mind is disordered.

As a family we had to evict him due to threatening behaviour. There is nothing so heartbreaking as kicking someone out, knowing there is nowhere for them to turn. But the risk to our safety is too great.

Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. If he had been in a car accident, he would have access to a rehabilitation facility until he was well enough to look after himself again. But when a brain is broken there is nothing available. There is so little recognition that he is not capable of making safe healthy decisions for himself.

When someone is unable to speak for themselves in medical emergencies, doctors turn to the family, but not when it is a mental health emergency., we are ignored, yet admonished for not doing enough.
 
Failure to address homelessness and mental illness has also turned libraries into defacto-shelters:

Libraries should be a "safe space" for people who want to make use of libraries services... kids, families, youth who need a quiet place to study, adults looking for something to read, etc.
I hate to say it, because it sounds almost cruel. But when you make a library a safe space for people suffering from addiction and mental illness, they stop being a safe space for anyone else.
It is interesting to think that the term "safe space" means something quite different if you're homeless.
While homeless shelters are "safe spaces" for them (ie, they're allowed to be there), there is a different standard of safety at a public library. It's a place they can go and expect the same standard of safety that I would in a restaurant, which is likely not the experience in a shelter.
I too find it too bad that libraries have gone this way. I have always valued them as a quiet place to just go and sit and study or read and be, without having to pay for anything or have a time limit. I'd hate to see them closed off to homeless folks because they need this more than anyone, but on the other hand, I'd love to see them closed off to people who ruin it for everyone else.
A large part of the issue with the TRL referenced above is that it is immediately adjacent to a large men's shelter and an injection site. My friend who works there says it's far, *far* worse than what was described in the story - there are police cars and ambulances attending there pretty much every hour of every day. It's to the point where a new, system-wide security manager/director position has recently been created (the talk is of a library-only special constable-type security presence, like on the TTC), and off the record, he tells me some staff there would like a permanent police presence - which helped in the past - but the librarian profession has taken a *very* left/social justice turn in the past ten or so years and that kind of proposal would get a lot of pushback from the younger cohort of ACAB-types that library schools are churning out.
Reddit Comments
 
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Failure to address homelessness and mental illness has also turned libraries into defacto-shelters:




Reddit Comments
This is why we avoid the Parliament St. branch and instead always took our kids to the Leaside library. The Parliament branch was often used by crazed mutterers and tramps smelling of piss and booze. It’s one of the top reasons I support moving the Parliament library to new Regent Park - placing it among sane and sober families and perhaps a little too far for those looking to use the library as a defacto shelter.
 
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Asylum seekers are taking away beds from the homeless shelters.

“We’re running about 9,000 beds per night in the shelter system, and right now about 2,700 of those beds on a nightly basis are being utilized by refugee claimants,” said the head of Toronto’s shelter programming, Gord Tanner.


 
I ask this question seriously, but why would someone stop if the alternative (working.. getting a job minimum wage job) would not afford them any place to live in Toronto/Vancouver? You are no further ahead if you devote 40 hours of your life (or more) working.. so why do it?
 
Asylum seekers are taking away beds from the homeless shelters.
The fix for asylum seekers should be as follows:
1) Subject refugee claimant arrives at Pearson
2) Subject is processed by Immigration Canada
3) If Subject has a Canadian or PR vouch to provide their housing/food, subject is released into their custody
4) if Subject has no where to go, housing/food is assigned by the IRB until subject is either accepted or deported

This is a big country. We can build refugee villages on federal land. No, not prisons or camps, but proper housing for those in need pending review.
 
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