Editor, Trail Times;
I have worked in Trail for over 15 years and have been very involved during that time with issues affecting individuals and families trying to survive on less than a living wage.
With regard to recent letters in the paper, there are a couple of very important points I want to make.
First of all, I have talked with several service providers who work directly with so-called” street people” and they tell me that almost all have either grown up in Trail, always lived in Trail and/or have family in Trail.
They are not fearsome outsiders come to wreck the community.
Secondly we are all entitled to respect, dignity, freedom and basic human rights.
Suggesting that “they” should be dumped into an isolated camp with no access to transportation or services is an idea that belongs in a police state and profoundly heightens fear, anger and distrust on everyone’s part.
Access to affordable, decent, safe housing has long been a key issue in Trail and “Housing First” has been proven over and over again to be central to any positive change.
All the services in the world cannot be effectively delivered if people are shivering, cold and wet in a back alley.
Housing is foundational to realizing the determinants of health.
To get “to home” there’s a continuum of services that are needed.
A safe injection site and a 24/7 year round emergency shelter means lives are saved and individuals can connect with health, community and housing services.
For many, having access to supportive non-profit housing is an essential and critical link in the chain, offering opportunities to transition to a more stable lifestyle and inclusion in the community.
As well, affordable, non-profit housing is another part of the spectrum where low income residents don’t have to fear the control of landlords whose interests lie in profits rather than people.
Non-profit housing helps to prevent homelessness and all the harms and risks that go along with a lack of shelter.
After the NDP formed government in BC, I thought we were well on the way to getting both supportive and affordable non-profit housing in the Trail area.
Although the local housing society has been able to develop some affordable housing projects, it seems that BC Housing has utterly failed to come through with the promised supportive housing.
The agency must be held to account.
In my opinion, there are already excellent health, social and community services in Trail and all are doing the best they can, but until there’s action on the part of BC Housing to support an adequate year round shelter and to construct supportive housing, nothing will change.
That needs to be the absolute central focus of our letter writing to and lobbying of both BC Housing and MLA Katrine Conroy.