“We certainly do have a problem in Trail with a much higher number of people than before dealing with mental illness, drug use issues and lack of housing, as does just about every community in B.C.,” writes Trail CAT. Photo: Unsplash

“We certainly do have a problem in Trail with a much higher number of people than before dealing with mental illness, drug use issues and lack of housing, as does just about every community in B.C.,” writes Trail CAT. Photo: Unsplash

Trail CAT: Support for local businesses is available

Letter from Trail Community Action Team

Dear Editor,

Supportive letters for the Royal Theatre has had the unfortunate consequence of unleashing another round of vitriol against people in Trail who are challenged with daily living.

People who are unhoused, struggling with substance use issues or dealing with mental illness are the subject of unfounded, nasty comments, largely on social media.

Businesses are certainly challenged everywhere, and we at the Trail Community Action Team sympathize with their struggles and are doing what we can to support them. However, to target “a handful of negative folks that threaten to make the downtown core a ghost town” as the cause of the possible demise of our local theatre doesn’t consider the whole picture.

Everyone is still dealing with COVID and its “hangover.”

For over two years, people have been encouraged to stay home, isolate, keep our social circles small, and gather outdoors. Some people are not ready to socialize yet. Others are still sick with various respiratory illnesses. Inflation and the cost of living have both risen, with families struggling to put food on the table.

When budgets are tight, entertainment is one of the first things to go. Arts and cultural events, in particular, are suffering.

That said, we certainly do have a problem in Trail with a much higher number of people than before dealing with mental illness, drug use issues and lack of housing, as does just about every community in B.C.

The myth that people were bussed to Trail from Vancouver continues to circulate. It never happened. The vast majority of people — 97 per cent — who access services at La Nina shelter are from or have family ties in Trail.

Also, please remember that, while the shelter seems to be a target for people, those who use the shelter must comply with its rules and are actually better connected to local services than others who are struggling in the community at large.

Partners in the Trail Community Action Team are working hard to find long-term solutions for these issues.

We engage with our city government, BC Housing, Interior Health and other community partners to work towards a supportive housing facility, an Overdose Prevention Site and other services to help people stabilize their lives.

In the meantime, businesses can count on support, including:

*Clean-up of graffiti and defacement — Career Development Services (CDS), the group that runs our local shelter, will send a team over to clean up any graffiti on your business’ walls, whether caused by people who use the shelter or not.

*Outreach workers — between Career Development Services, Interior Health and the Selkirk College nursing program, six outreach workers are available to support the community. If you need help dealing with someone, please call 250.368.7390 to arrange for a support worker to assist you.

*Bylaw — Can help with property conditions, graffiti; non shelter related excessive noise; obstructions on streets/sidewalks; litter/dumping on public spaces. Call 250.364.0388.

*Needle clean-up — Dispensers are available in various locations around the community for used needles, emptied by Selkirk College nursing students. Members of REDUN (Rural Empowered Drug Users Network) will come to clean up any needles found in the community. Please contact us at trailBCCAT@gmail.com to arrange for this service.

*Information on drug addiction — TCAT has an educational presentation on The War on Drugs we are happy to present to your business or community group. Please contact us to arrange a presentation.

*Training in the use of naloxone — Members of TCAT will provide training in the use of Naloxone, the temporary antidote to fentanyl.

*Immediate help with drug use issues — contact Interior Health, 250.364.6262 and ask for the OAT Team.

*Support for families with a loved one struggling with drug use – The Kootenay Boundary chapter of Moms Stop the Harm’s Holding Hope group provides help to those supporting a loved one struggling with substance use. Contact Jacquie at holdinghopewestkootenays@gmail.com.

We certainly agree that our new city council needs to continue to focus on the issue of homelessness and supports for those with mental health or drug use issues.

We invite the new mayor and all councillors, along with any interested local residents, to join us at the Trail Community Action Team to work to reduce the harms from drug use in our community.

Contact us at TrailCATBC@gmail.com.

Trail Community Action Team

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