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Edmontonium

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I would solve this degeneration issue in a month. Gov should use crown land up north, build a center with all amenities, healing, treating, mental and medical help. After initial detox or screening and understanding underlying issue of being in that situation, the person would be free to leave but no help in that (transportation etc). Or he/she can choose to stay and get everything they need. After professionals confirm they are ready to return to be decent members of society they get help to return to the city with a housing and a job offer. Otherwise, there is no reason for a homeless person to be in the city. If caught in the same situation again would be transported back north for repeat treatment. I just don't believe in logic for helping someone to be homeless as homeless shelters do. I believe in real help for people to find life again.
 

CplKlinger

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I would solve this degeneration issue in a month. Gov should use crown land up north, build a center with all amenities, healing, treating, mental and medical help. After initial detox or screening and understanding underlying issue of being in that situation, the person would be free to leave but no help in that (transportation etc). Or he/she can choose to stay and get everything they need. After professionals confirm they are ready to return to be decent members of society they get help to return to the city with a housing and a job offer. Otherwise, there is no reason for a homeless person to be in the city. If caught in the same situation again would be transported back north for repeat treatment. I just don't believe in logic for helping someone to be homeless as homeless shelters do. I believe in real help for people to find life again.
I think supportive housing is a better approach. It involves building/converting multi-unit buildings with a few dozen units, and dedicated supports for addictions and mental health, finding jobs/getting ID, etc. Homeward Trust assigns them a case worker who helps them find treatments, get ID and a job, etc. They sign a lease, pay (subsidized) rent, etc. This model eases the transition for the clients because that unit is their own personal home while they're there, and they remain actual members of society. Their agency isn't ripped away from them; that would make relapse much more likely after treatment since being on their own again could be so darn overwhelming.

And it's a housing first model, meaning they don't need to try and "get clean" from drugs or alcohol before they're even considered for housing. The idea behind that is it is much easier to focus on addressing harmful coping mechanisms if one is not constantly worried about finding a roof over their head for the night, or always switched on fight or flight mode; people who received treatment under this plan have vouched for this.

And according to the city, this model works. There are only 226 units of supportive housing so far, with a few more buildings currently under construction, which will bring our total count to ~900. More than 14,000 people have used Edmonton's housing first program, and similar programs since 2009 (I presume those related programs don't use this pool of 226 units). Of those 14,370 people, the city says that more than 80% remained housed after 12 months. What the city does need is more money for Homeward Trust to build and operate more of these units. Regarding those new units under construction, the province has not given them the money for these units to be operated. Homeward Trust has said that these units are far too vital to languish, so if the province does not step up then Homeward Trust will be forced to cut other important programs to make up the difference.

Carting houseless people to some far away institution will do more harm than good. It strips them of their agency and dehumanizes them; sentiments they already feel too much of as houseless people. They are forced to either stay in a treatment centre against their will, or find their way back to Edmonton on their own (and for the Indigenous Peoples who make up more than half of our houseless population, this would come disgustingly close to the Starlight Tours where as late as 2018, cops in Saskatchewan drove Indigenous men women and children out to rural areas in the dead of winter nights, and left them to freeze to death).

While in "treatment", they would be isolated from their friends, family, the supports they might have grown to know and trust, and everything else that helped make life survivable for them. And once they were out again, there would be no guarantee of who or what they could find again. All of this would make treatment hard enough on its own, let alone the fact that they would have no experience renting their own place, applying for jobs, getting IDs, etc. Even if they could learn about this stuff in classes, it's different to live the experiences.

Lastly, you have no right whatsoever to say that they don't belong in Edmonton. These are living, breathing, feeling, and thinking human beings. They are people too; some were born and raised Edmontonians who fell on hard times, while others came here for the social services and shelters. Whatever their reasons, they deserve to be treated like people. Many of us on this website could ourselves be one or two missed paycheques away from losing our homes, never forget that. And considering more than half of our houseless population are Indigenous, it's very ironic to tell them that they have no right to be here, considering that's a line they and their Peoples have been told since this land was first occupied by settlers. Even if they don't have a house, Amiskwaciy is their home.

Instead of dehumanizing them, ruining many of their lives, and destroying our greatest chance at reintegrating them - all for nothing but the sake of putting them out of sight and out of mind, let's stick with a model that has already been proven to work, and has been used successfully in Edmonton for over a decade. If 226 units can have such an impact, imagine what impact 900 will have. Or 1800. Let's not declare our model of supportive housing first inadequate simply because it was underfunded even before our houseless population doubled during Covid. And let's not lose our humanity and commit shameful acts that would forever stain our legacies and our city, simply because we wanted to choose the easy option instead of the right solution. One man's "degeneration" is another's living hell.
 
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Glenco

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While in "treatment", they would be isolated from their friends, family, the supports they might have grown to know and trust, and everything else that helped make life survivable for them. And once they were out again, there would be no guarantee of who or what they could find again. All of this would make treatment hard enough on its own, let alone the fact that they would have no experience renting their own place, applying for jobs, getting IDs, etc. Even if they could learn about this stuff in classes, it's different to live the experiences.

Assuming their friends and family are not part of the problem. Maybe it was the neglect and abuse that got them to where they are.
 

CplKlinger

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Assuming their friends and family are not part of the problem. Maybe it was the neglect and abuse that got them to where they are.
That's not an assumption we have a right to make with such a broad brush. Houseless people can have friends like anyone else. If the relationships are harmful, they can be given the tools needed to break them off while in supportive housing as well; they don't need to be imprisoned in some rural facility.
 

positive1

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I would solve this degeneration issue in a month. Gov should use crown land up north, build a center with all amenities, healing, treating, mental and medical help. After initial detox or screening and understanding underlying issue of being in that situation, the person would be free to leave but no help in that (transportation etc). Or he/she can choose to stay and get everything they need. After professionals confirm they are ready to return to be decent members of society they get help to return to the city with a housing and a job offer. Otherwise, there is no reason for a homeless person to be in the city. If caught in the same situation again would be transported back north for repeat treatment. I just don't believe in logic for helping someone to be homeless as homeless shelters do. I believe in real help for people to find life again.
Why "up north"?
 

ION

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That's not an assumption we have a right to make with such a broad brush. Houseless people can have friends like anyone else. If the relationships are harmful, they can be given the tools needed to break them off while in supportive housing as well; they don't need to be imprisoned in some rural facility.
Agreed. Different stokes for different folks and there's no way to skin a cat and all that jazz... If the goal is detox? Sure great. Nordic spa that shit please! Everyone deserves to be pampered like that especially the working class! Which is why in Scandinavia mental health and chemical dependency centres look more like an average American resort than a prison. If we just put some cash into that rather than some alternative programming we'd have much better long-term results. At least in my experience... Hospitals are fearful places at the best of times never mind when you add in the stigma that goes with anything but ER triage health care these days... And even then they still treat you like shit. At least in my extensive experience. Last trip to the ER was for COVID when my throat closed up and I nearly died. And the doctor's response? LITERALLY "How the hell did you get your second shot?" Aka I was being chastized for being double vaxxed and still going to hospital with life-threatening COVID... FFS...
 

CplKlinger

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Any chance we can move the homeless discussion to the appropriate thread?
Ok, *now* I will haha. I was waiting to see if it'd go on or not. I don't think there's an actual thread about houselessness in YEG and the region, so I'll go ahead and make one.
 

ION

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A bit of a welcome about face from CC regarding the legality of homeless encampments... Personally there's more than enough land to make large swaths of Edmonton free camping for months if they wanted to. But then again that would allow people to not have to reward the scammiest of landlords in the worst parts of Edmonton and isn't that the larger crime??? ;-) Edmonton looking into pilot for small, city-sanctioned homeless encampments
 

ION

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Here's my radical solution! Turn Northlands grounds into a huge summer fair zone between May and October every year with a permanent free or nearly free camping area.. People who are already seasonally doing this in the river valley so Disneyfying it seems at least humane... Plus those outer parking lots are dead empty when Concordia isn't in school anyway... Plus they are a "Christian" school so you'd think they'd get involved with some aspect of goodwill or giving... Could even be a good way to create a humanities class, although that is certainly more of a MacEwan idea in all the best ways... At least that's my two worthless cents...
 

Edmontonium

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I think supportive housing is a better approach. It involves building/converting multi-unit buildings with a few dozen units, and dedicated supports for addictions and mental health, finding jobs/getting ID, etc. Homeward Trust assigns them a case worker who helps them find treatments, get ID and a job, etc. They sign a lease, pay (subsidized) rent, etc. This model eases the transition for the clients because that unit is their own personal home while they're there, and they remain actual members of society. Their agency isn't ripped away from them; that would make relapse much more likely after treatment since being on their own again could be so darn overwhelming.

And it's a housing first model, meaning they don't need to try and "get clean" from drugs or alcohol before they're even considered for housing. The idea behind that is it is much easier to focus on addressing harmful coping mechanisms if one is not constantly worried about finding a roof over their head for the night, or always switched on fight or flight mode; people who received treatment under this plan have vouched for this.

And according to the city, this model works. There are only 226 units of supportive housing so far, with a few more buildings currently under construction, which will bring our total count to ~900. More than 14,000 people have used Edmonton's housing first program, and similar programs since 2009 (I presume those related programs don't use this pool of 226 units). Of those 14,370 people, the city says that more than 80% remained housed after 12 months. What the city does need is more money for Homeward Trust to build and operate more of these units. Regarding those new units under construction, the province has not given them the money for these units to be operated. Homeward Trust has said that these units are far too vital to languish, so if the province does not step up then Homeward Trust will be forced to cut other important programs to make up the difference.

Carting houseless people to some far away institution will do more harm than good. It strips them of their agency and dehumanizes them; sentiments they already feel too much of as houseless people. They are forced to either stay in a treatment centre against their will, or find their way back to Edmonton on their own (and for the Indigenous Peoples who make up more than half of our houseless population, this would come disgustingly close to the Starlight Tours where as late as 2018, cops in Saskatchewan drove Indigenous men women and children out to rural areas in the dead of winter nights, and left them to freeze to death).

While in "treatment", they would be isolated from their friends, family, the supports they might have grown to know and trust, and everything else that helped make life survivable for them. And once they were out again, there would be no guarantee of who or what they could find again. All of this would make treatment hard enough on its own, let alone the fact that they would have no experience renting their own place, applying for jobs, getting IDs, etc. Even if they could learn about this stuff in classes, it's different to live the experiences.

Lastly, you have no right whatsoever to say that they don't belong in Edmonton. These are living, breathing, feeling, and thinking human beings. They are people too; some were born and raised Edmontonians who fell on hard times, while others came here for the social services and shelters. Whatever their reasons, they deserve to be treated like people. Many of us on this website could ourselves be one or two missed paycheques away from losing our homes, never forget that. And considering more than half of our houseless population are Indigenous, it's very ironic to tell them that they have no right to be here, considering that's a line they and their Peoples have been told since this land was first occupied by settlers. Even if they don't have a house, Amiskwaciy is their home.

Instead of dehumanizing them, ruining many of their lives, and destroying our greatest chance at reintegrating them - all for nothing but the sake of putting them out of sight and out of mind, let's stick with a model that has already been proven to work, and has been used successfully in Edmonton for over a decade. If 226 units can have such an impact, imagine what impact 900 will have. Or 1800. Let's not declare our model of supportive housing first inadequate simply because it was underfunded even before our houseless population doubled during Covid. And let's not lose our humanity and commit shameful acts that would forever stain our legacies and our city, simply because we wanted to choose the easy option instead of the right solution. One man's "degeneration" is another's living hell.
The part that vilifies my comment is based on assumption that somehow I don't want to help homeless people or that I don't care. Yes, it is different approach but it doesn't give you the right to silence it.
First, whatever city says is working actually, it doesn't feel like that. I have been living in this city for ten years and I believe in what I see. The problem got progressively worse. That is a fact. If some approach is not working, why to silence different opinions?
When I said send "up north" I meant "remote" place. Reason being, being away from bad influence, drug dealers etc. Has nothing to do with your Saskatchewan example of leaving people in the middle of nowhere in winter. Your dramatism does not solve anything.
I didn't say they don't belong in the city. I said they need real help. I do not consider a shelter for a night in downtown Edmonton a real help. We are not talking about leaving people without a place for a night but rather alternative of resort level caring institution in a different place. What racist is about that?
You don't talk about a toll homelessness imposes on the city. Maybe you can go to Royal Alex at Friday evening and spend six or nine hours in a ER waiting and see what's going on there. Or have you dined recently like I did in Chinatown to support local business just to find the person you say you protect leaning in my car and injecting drugs into leg in front of my children. I call it degeneration. For what it is. And I'm not angry on anyone or people we walk about, they need help, but I'm angry about people like you who thinks there are no limits to what people are allowed to do to themselves. If I see a person who needs help, I see a person who needs help, not a person exercising his constitutional right to inject drugs in the public. So who's is double faced in this discussion..
My argument is that your approach is not efficient, not working and is equal to putting band aid to a wound with best wishes until next time. Not going all the way until it is fixed.
Everyone belongs to this city. No questions about it. When we have a struggling family member and we want to help him, we take him to hospital and mental health institution or to a private addiction treatment center which can be a remote place. If we would treat homeless people in the core of our city as a family members, we would not let them wonder streets like this. We would take care of them. So your "morally superior" comment is actually morally degenerative comment. With all due respect.
 

CplKlinger

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The part that vilifies my comment is based on assumption that somehow I don't want to help homeless people or that I don't care. Yes, it is different approach but it doesn't give you the right to silence it.
I never accused you of not wanting to help, but I did explain why I believe that this approach objectively would not help most people who it targets. And I'm not silencing your ideas; the only time I shut something down was when you said "Otherwise, there is no reason for a homeless person to be in the city." I stand by how I responded to that comment. But other than that, I did not say anything to discourage you from posting further, all I did was explain why I do not think that is a good way to approach treatment for everyone suffering from houselessness and addictions.

whatever city says is working actually, it doesn't feel like that.
Ok, but I provided sources which says the city is actually seeing success despite the limited resources available. But a doubling of the homeless population has negated much of this progress. So of course it's not very noticeable if it's not being resourced properly.

I have been living in this city for ten years and I believe in what I see. The problem got progressively worse. That is a fact. If some approach is not working, why to silence different opinions?
Anecdotal experience =/= facts. Sure, you've seen what you've seen, and that personal experience is something real and tangible. But passively observing the situation as a resident does not give you insight into the inner workings of supportive housing, and other parts of the city's strategy. And again, I am *not* silencing your opinions here. I've literally been responding publicly to each point you've raised, how is that silencing it? Yes, I argue that your proposals would not work as a blanket solution, and that we should remember the humanity of the situation. But I'm not deleting your posts, I'm not telling you to stop posting in this thread, and I'm not even calling you a bad person or otherwise personally attacking you.

I didn't say they don't belong in the city. I said they need real help.
That first claim is objectively false; here is a direct quote (bolding is mine to emphasize the relevant parts):
After professionals confirm they are ready to return to be decent members of society they get help to return to the city with a housing and a job offer. Otherwise, there is no reason for a homeless person to be in the city.
From that line, it sounds like you and I partly agree and partly disagree. I'll speak more to that later.
I do not consider a shelter for a night in downtown Edmonton a real help. We are not talking about leaving people without a place for a night but rather alternative of resort level caring institution in a different place. What racist is about that?
When did I call you racist? Because I actually agree with you that shelters are not a sustainable solution to solving houselessness. Supportive housing is completely different from shelters. In fact, one could even call it another alternative in the toolkit of cities, just like how your idea provides an alternative.
You don't talk about a toll homelessness imposes on the city. Maybe you can go to Royal Alex at Friday evening and spend six or nine hours in a ER waiting and see what's going on there. Or have you dined recently like I did in Chinatown to support local business just to find the person you say you protect leaning in my car and injecting drugs into leg in front of my children. I call it degeneration. For what it is. And I'm not angry on anyone or people we walk about, they need help, but I'm angry about people like you who thinks there are no limits to what people are allowed to do to themselves. If I see a person who needs help, I see a person who needs help, not a person exercising his constitutional right to inject drugs in the public. So who's is double faced in this discussion..
Again, please point me to the part where I said that they have a right to do whatever they want in public. I assure you that you won't find anything, because I have never been pro-lawlessness. I am 100% supportive of police ramping up downtown patrols, peace officers being more active on public transit, encampments being removed, etc. I have always voiced these positions on this forum. I mean sheesh, I never even brought up constitutional rights regarding this topic. What I do disagree with you is how to address this in a way that is beneficial for both the public, and the person in need of help.

I think I was too extreme in my first post, in that I held up supportive housing as the ideal solution to ending houselessness. In fact, that is not true for everyone. In the statistics I cited, they had a ~80% success rate. So for that 20% who it does not work for, something else might be needed instead, and your idea could prove a better alternative to prison for many. However, that still leaves 80% of supportive housing residents who did benefit from supportive housing, so why would we force thousands of people into a more extreme and traumatizing model of treatment when something more dignified, like supportive housing, would have helped them instead?
 
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CplKlinger

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My argument is that your approach is not efficient, not working and is equal to putting band aid to a wound with best wishes until next time. Not going all the way until it is fixed.
And my counter to that is that supportive housing has already been shown to have an 80%+ success rate, so how is that a band aid solution? Success means that 80% of supportive housing residents remained housed for 12 months after moving in; this means that they lasted 12 months in a space that they signed a lease and pay subsidized rent for, and have access, in their building, to psychological and addictions support, case workers, career help, etc. If that model leads to 80% of its participants remaining in stable housing with access to supports, how is that just a band-aid solution? And how is that any less dignified for them than what you propose, or any more dangerous than the status quo? If this allows them to participate in society and remain in their own community to achieve this, what's so bad about that?
When we have a struggling family member and we want to help him, we take him to hospital and mental health institution or to a private addiction treatment center which can be a remote place.
See how you listed multiple different things there? Just as I acknowledge that I was too fixated on one solution before, I think it's important for you to understand that we can't just ship everyone up to some rural facilities and expect that to work for most people. Hospitals aren't isolated, and neither is supportive housing; but both are part of the solution to recovery for many, and a step above your basic walk in clinic/shelter.
So your "morally superior" comment is actually morally degenerative comment. With all due respect.
Just like I didn't call you racist, I never said that people should be left to shoot up wherever they want, at the detriment to their health and the safety of others.

I'll end this with an example of how supportive housing does help people suffering from addictions. I heard it in the city's podcast on the zoning bylaw renewal.

They spoke about a client who they called Rick. Rick was a "heavy user of services", meaning that he was always in conflict with EPS. He was so heavily addicted to alcohol that he'd be drunk by 8:30 AM on average. How did they help him? Well, he's Cree, so they started with his language. He knew Cree very well, so they'd ask him to share his knowledge about the language; this led to conversations about how his lifestyle was hurting his health.

This led to him beginning to eat properly, and he also trusted them to help manage his finances. Soon, he was able to buy actual alcohol whenever he wanted to drink, whereas before he would often resort to things like Lysol. Once he was just on alcohol, they helped him buy enough beer to last the month so that he did not need to panhandle for it. This allowed him to stay home more to drink, which allowed the house staff to develop a better relationship with them.

After that, he went from 12% alcohol to 5% alcohol, and his behaviour improved greatly. He wasn't fighting with police, he wasn't riding the LRT all day, and he wasn't any sort of blight on the area. Finally, he asked to be moved from 5% alcohol to their cannabis program, because he knew that the alcohol was killing him and making him sick.

Not only has his health and lifestyle improved since then, but his self-perception has improved so much that he now wants to teach others Cree, buy things for his apartment, and reconnect with family and his First Nation. Supportive housing saved his life, and gave him a fresh start.

So sure, that won't work for everyone. But we try to get these sorts of people off of the street, and 80% are willing and able to do this sort of thing in supportive housing, isn't that achieving the same sort of thing you want to get to? How is that morally degenerative? Personally, I think that it's much better to start with something like this, then escalate as needed. Could your idea be better than putting them in prison? Sure, I don't see why not. But I don't think it should be our starting point.

And just as with every other post I've made in this thread, I have not called you racist, accused you of not caring about them, or tried to shut you down. Please keep that in mind when responding.

EDIT: And going off of Kaizen's lovely reminder about how words can be like spears, I want to genuinely apologize if I completely misunderstood your intent when making my original post.

When you said that piece that I quoted above, I thought you truly wanted to see  all houseless people taken away, and I responded partly out of anger, and partly because I'm tired of them being written off en-masse by so many people in our society. So that is why I commented about you "having no right" to judge that.

But if that's not what you were saying, then I can see how my message came across so different to you than I intended it to. But like I said in my post here, it really does sound like we're looking for the same outcomes here, we just disagree on how best to get there. So I hope you can forgive me for the hostile tone of that paragraph in my first post, and that we can genuinely discuss solutions in this thread. Even if we don't agree on how this crisis should be addressed, let's at least agree that we're on the same page; we want to truly help them, we don't want our city to be unsafe for others, and the status quo is unacceptable.
 
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Kaizen

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^ thanks @Edmontonium for your well thought out and heartfelt response. I can appreciate it, but not so much the tone of "double-faced" or "morally superior", ect, regardless if in defense of what you felt was justified to "fight fire with fire". Not sure if that makes sense?
But I caught your drift. I had wanted to reply to your original post with some ideas. Just no time.

It's a big topic, difficult and so worthy of many different opinions to work towards solutions. I liked a lot of your discussion points, but can see why someone might think you were coming off mean spirited. You weren't I know, and the jist of your post reminded me of the "In Search of Your Warrior" camp (Nordegg area), I worked at 20 years ago as an elders helper. I had hoped to reply then, but I've been running around like a "chicken with no head".

The camp was a great success, and I might be able to quantify that later (not now).
I will chime-in more in a week or 2, not sure if I have anything important to offer, but regardless it's all just opinions. Let's not take offense, words can be like spears. ✌️

I've been super behind with work & life in general, so stressing out. Can't keep up.
I'm leaving tomorrow morning to Shuswap Reserve BC to help with a Sundance, a solid 7 days. I'll be able to check internet for a few days but probably won't much over the 4 days of ceremony. I'll check Skyrise from time to time, can't stay away for long, haha!
Briefly & probably garbled; over the past 20 years (not so much the last 8 years) I have worked/vountered in various capacities within the prison system, halfway houses (Stan Daniels, usually just volunteering to drive people out to Sweats), facilitating trainings around Alberta, NWT healing workshops for both Treaty 6 & 8, (none of which was my fully time career).
Mainly involving healing self through ceremony, a lot about growing up, getting over yourself and doing something meaningful.
I've witnessed great success with programs run outside the city. This might be something to explore further but I'm largely out of the loup. I'll start asking around if anyone knows of any recent developments in this regard.
All my best to you and all
❤️
 

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