A report presented to Vernon city council Monday presents a bleak picture of the community – more people living on the street, climbing poverty for many and increased drug overdoses.
“There’s been a lot of change in our community,” said Annette Sharkey, with the Partners In Action.
And that is a reality. There’s no question that Vernon isn’t the same as it was in the 1980s or ‘90s, let alone a decade ago.
But while it would be easy to be negative about the situation, there is considerable hope.
Primarily, a firm relationship has developed among service providers and other agencies to find solutions. Among those at the table are the Downtown Vernon Association, the RCMP, the City of Vernon and the bylaw department, which has gone beyond enforcement to identifying individuals who may need help and reaching out to them.
Obviously there is no magic bullet when it comes to complex social issues, but a co-operative approach brings everyone to the table. It not only allows for communication, but for innovation and collaboration that may not exist otherwise.
But beyond the non-profits, business, the city and police, residents also need to be involved.
Donate your time or money to a charity of choice that helps those in need, or lobby senior government to provide funds for housing and key services.
It’s time to speak out for our neighbours.