You know I have had trouble sleeping in my warm bed. I cannot stop thinking about why we have lost three of our homeless citizens to the cold this winter. That is why I had to speak up and Give notice of Motion about finding alternative solutions to this serious problem in our city.
I realize that people at risk may not choose warm havens that are always available. They may choose to take substances that might impair their ability to make a life decision. With that said my motion asks the Board of Police Commissioners to look at options that may include ideas that are possibly controversial and against public opinion such as "wet houses". “Wet houses” would allow people that are at risk to have options to find a place to live without the societal pressures that may make them not choose current safe shelter. Further I have been told our police may be expending possibly over 20% of their labours dealing with a small societal factor of our citizens that are continually at risk and that are known as habitual substance abusers and requiring police intervention. Our at risk citizens might find success fighting their addictions if we could use our skills to encourage them to use alternative options. The CORE is working so well that maybe we need something similar that will provide these few at risk homeless alternatives that will keep them safe with whatever demons and health issues they may be experiencing. We should look at partnering with our senior governments to look at options that will hopefully provide us with less risk of homeless deaths in the future. And yes, I realize we cannot lead the horse to the water and make them drink. But we must at least try to lead them to our best solutions. Folks, our problems unfortunately are not limited to our homeless.
The facts are simply we are losing people to alcohol, drugs and vulnerable people are dying. It is time we took a look at innovative solutions to one of our biggest policing and community issues, substance abuse. It not only affects individuals and families but costs us all with increased insurance, health, social services, education system and policing costs. Just think if we had 20% more police resources at work in our community what results that might bring?
Our neighbours in South Dakota have taken a stand on their problems with legislation called 24/7 Sobriety Program. This of course is under their laws and would require provincial and federal legislative law changes. Maybe it is time to look at the whole issue instead of pieces of the puzzle. Finding one piece will not complete the whole puzzle. We need to look at the whole picture. The fix is now up to our experts.