More action needed on homelessness

I was shocked to see our only stop-gap solution is ugly, fenced, tent-style holding pens

More action needed on homelessness

Dear Cowichan mayors, councillors, directors and volunteers:

I applaud any and every action our brave and committed politicians, volunteers and social organizations are taking to address Cowichan’s chronic homelessness crisis.

Answers are not easy concerning these complex issues that are indeed of national interest too.

However, Cowichan’s busy leaders have had decades to debate and try solutions — working with health-care professionals and counsellors, our regional housing strategy folks, concerned citizens, and homeless people themselves.

Shamefully, we still lack the level of housing and help for these people who number some 2,000 and climbing.

I was shocked to see our only stop-gap solution is ugly, fenced, tent-style holding pens dotting various sites around core Cowichan.

Is this the sum of all our meetings, funding, professional advice, studies, debates, films and community input?

Underwhelming, to say the very least.

Other cities and countries are creatively confronting similar homelessness issues involving the working poor, addicts, the mentally challenged and jobless people, albeit given cultural differences.

Surely our intelligent community should have done better by now to address our ongoing homelessness problem affecting various businesses, neighbourhoods, our medical system and more.

Community volunteers are selflessly clearing the mess, potentially medically dangerous, left by some careless homeless folks.

Despite lots of talk and studies during the past two decades, we still have precious few truly affordable housing units for Cowichan’s homeless folks.

I full commend Warmland House and other facilities — including our great hospitals — as authentic models of operation doing their best to help these desperate people.

But leadership by our elected and paid governments has been lacklustre, to say the least.

We have, and have had, the expertise, funding and land to take action in constructing appropriate housing, complete with addiction help, counselling, detox resources and more.

We have simply lacked the political will to act.

That’s starkly evidenced by our growing numbers of homeless folks still living in local parks, woods, shacks and elsewhere.

I suggest Cowichan’s leaders finally act as a catalyst with our volunteers and organizations to set solid, realistic deadlines for building and/or buying or renting more facilities to address our collective homelessness problem.

If not, I daresay our fledgling tent cities could be far larger, permanent sites by 2030.

Still, I believe Cowichan can serve as a vibrant showpiece of compassionate assistance toward these homelessness issues sadly facing many Canadian communities.

Peter W. Rusland

North Cowichan

Letters

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tour de Rock pedals through the Cowichan Valley

Cops for Cancer fundraiser visits local schools

Kerry Park Islanders open regular season this weekend

Intersquad game boosted profile for some players

Crash snarls traffic in Duncan Tuesday evening

The crash appeared to involve at least three vehicles

Fire crews put out blaze in Cowichan Secondary outbuilding

Three halls respond to fire in storage structure

Who’s running in Cowichan?

A list of Cowichan candidates for the upcoming provincial election

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Most Read