LETTERS: Vernon reader says council should look to Alberta town for homeless solutions

I recently returned from a visit to Medicine Hat and normally we all notice the landmarks and tourist attractions that different locations have to offer. The thing that stood out for me was not so much the landmarks and attractions (there are many to see in Medicine Hat), but rather what I did not see.

I did not see homeless people and vagrants on the city streets. I did not see vagrants milling about on sidewalks and other city walkways. I did not see shopping carts piled high with lifelong belongings. There just wasn’t any of that. Compared to most other cities in Canada and the United States, Medicine Hat seems to have found the answer to a problem that has us all of us wringing our hands about “what to do”.

I know that many other people have written letters to the editor about the work that Medicine Hat has done to curb their homeless/vagrant problem. The problem seems to be that no one in municipal, provincial or federal government is listening.

I am not sure why? Is it possible that egos get in the way?

Is it possible that our leaders need to find their own solution and not follow one that is working for a place like Medicine Hat?

If any of our leaders think that the whole issue is overblown, they should walk through downtown Vernon during evening hours or early morning to see that the problem is only getting worse. There are Vernon residents who are now getting hurt from encounters with mentally unstable people in and around the downtown sector.

Our social media is filled with rants about this growing problem.

I would like to hear a statement from elected officials to say that they are going to investigate the solution that Medicine Hat has formulated to deal with this problem. If they choose not to investigate, I would like to hear why not.

Eric Elle

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