Ending homelessness in Kamloops makes sense for so many different reasons - morally, fiscally, and in terms of crime and community safety. Whether someone voted conservative, liberal, ndp, or green in the federal election - we will all find significant common ground in ending homelessness.
Ending homelessness is not a left wing issue. It is not a right wing issue. It is a community issue, and we all can benefit. So many of us feel that having people in our community without a home is morally just not right. And added to that:
Businesses benefit when people are not eating, sleeping, and defecating in this alley. Victims of crime benefit as less people get caught up in breaking the law on a habitual or occasional basis.
Significantly, and I have had this number confirmed by BC's Minister of Housing and Social Development, providing services to people living on the street costs taxpayers (round numbers) $55000. Housing the same person, and supporting them in housing costs (round numbers) $37000.
Ending Homelessness in fiscally responsible.
So again, there are many good reasons to end homelessness. To right a moral wrong. To help businesses grow. To reduce crime. And, in fact, to be more efficient and accountable with our tax dollars.
So how exactly do we end homelessness in Kamloops?
Let me say, first of all, we have great social agencies working to house people and support them in housing. We have great and growing community involvement from faith based organizations, the business community, and from concerned citizens from all walks of life. What I will propose today, I have learnt from all these great people.
need to adopt a "housing first" approach. This approach emphasizes
providing people housing before helping them beat an addiction issue or
helping address mental health issues.
need to stop doing homeless counts, and start doing needs assessments
for homeless people. And then we have to find resources for social
service professionals to find housing and provide supports that meet
- We need a
coordinated effort. And I believe city hall needs to coordinate and
facilitate this effort. We need to state that one of our official
community goals is to end homelessness in Kamloops. We should consider
a council committee whose goal it would be to coordinate community
action to end homelessness.
need to monitor our progress carefully and publicly report on our
progress. We need to make sure everything we do is moving towards zero
homelessness in Kamloops.
- We need to continue to work closely with our primary funding partners, the provincial and federal governments, so that they understand our needs and requirements to achieve our goal. We should find out how much city bylaw officers, fire department and RCMP spend on issues involving homeless people.
Many communities across North America are adopting these approaches and are starting to have great success.
Lastly, let me say how proud I am to have been of part of our current city council that has, I think, worked very hard to assist the creation of supportive housing in Kamloops. I would like the next council to build on this success.