Vernon’s council members were respectful when MLA Eric Foster appeared before them Monday, but they made it very clear that the province’s handling of the homeless has flaws.
It was pointed out that while funding for housing and emergency shelter mats are appreciated, two major areas require more attention.
“What’s driving homelessness is drug addiction and mental health and there’s not much being done,” said Coun. Scott Anderson.
Often those with dependencies are admitted to hospital and while there, they began to get a handle on their challenges. Unfortunately, once they are discharged, there isn’t a roof over their heads and limited resources to access.
“It’s important that we connect the dots. There’s not enough integration,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.
Now Foster was correct when he indicated that the government has finite funding, particularly when Vernon isn’t the only community coping with homelessness.
However, the solution doesn’t just rest with cash.
There is a need for all government agencies — from social services and corrections to health authorities — to communicate and co-operate amongst themselves, and with non-profits and municipalities to find solutions for individuals and larger groups. Don’t let things like privacy laws stop you from doing what is right.
Hopefully Foster heard Vernon council loud and clear and he takes the message back to Victoria.