“I am the grandmother of one of those homeless people … I have been trying to get him the help he needs. However, everywhere I call I get stonewalled,” write a West Kootenay grandmother. Photo: Rod Long/Unsplash

“I am the grandmother of one of those homeless people … I have been trying to get him the help he needs. However, everywhere I call I get stonewalled,” write a West Kootenay grandmother. Photo: Rod Long/Unsplash

Letter from a heartbroken West Kootenay grandmother

” … it is not the government workers who will put this together – it will be the people.”

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been following Trail’s homeless situation closely.

You see, I am the grandmother of one of those homeless people.

He has some mental health issues. I have been trying to get him the help he needs,

However, everywhere I call I get stonewalled.

In the past, he has been a patient of the Daly Pavilion.

When he was a patient there, I tried to speak with his doctor.

I was told, by the nurse, that I could talk to her but I indicated that I really wanted to speak to the psychiatrist.

This never happened.

When he was discharged, the Daly contacted me and told me he was being released and that I could come and pick him up.

I asked them to keep him there until I could get to Trail [I live approximately 2.5 hours from Trail].

I was told they couldn’t do that and in the middle of our conversation I heard her tell him to behave on the streets.

He told them he would be panhandling.

I have tried to contact his Probation Officer – no response.

I have tried to contact his Mental Health Worker – no response.

I have contacted the Trail RCMP who were very supportive of my attempts to get him the help he needs.

He is known to them and when they do pick him up, they take him to the Daly and the Daly says they don’t want him and to charge him.

The police told them that he is a mental health patient and, as such, no charges could be put forward.

They were trying to explain that he needs the help that the Daly could give.

Unfortunately, for the City of Trail, the only Mental Health Medical facility is in Trail so all of the mentally challenged patients are discharged into the City of Trail.

When they are discharged there is no care plan in place to ensure their care after release.

There is nowhere for them to live and as they are on income assistance they do not have the funds to rent a place even if there were any places.

This young man has a loving family however he chooses [because of his illness] to live on the streets.

There are no facilities to house these challenged people.

There no longer is Riverview or Tranquille.

Not all of these people need that kind of facility however many do.

They require the structure that is provided by such a facility.

Yes, when the government closed these facilities there were a number of mentally challenged persons who had been placed there that did not need that kind of care.

Yes, it was an easy out for government workers who did not want to deal with the problems, but, for some they were the answer.

Group homes could be an answer too.

Not all homeless people are mentally challenged or drug users.

Some have lost jobs, and now don’t have enough income to be able to pay for housing, food, etc.

Believe me, the City of Trail will not make this situation go away by washing the streets more often, or putting up lighting.

The drug dealing will still go on.

The panhandling will still go on.

Sleeping on the streets will still happen.

This is the kind of life these people understand and, for some, there is a great comfort in that way of life.

This is the same problem as Vancouver’s, just on a smaller scale.

I believe there are people who are willing to work with others to attempt to help with this large problem.

Problem is, it is not the government workers who will put this together – it will be the people.

Local people with good hearts that are willing to stand up and fight for proper care and housing for these challenged people.

A loving, caring grandmother

addictionsCity of TrailHomelessnessLetter to the Editormental health