I am confident, those with (1) Mental Illness and (2) Addictions cannot be immediately housed without proper treatment.
In the past administration, I have witnessed our 10 year plan to end homelessness and it’s failure. In all fairness, two past provincial administrations (both NDP and UCP) have tried to partner with the city. The problem is our 10 year plan to end homeless is not a coherent, actionable, or responsible plan. The City of Edmonton has focused on building expensive, complex-style housing and the only partnership with the province has been requests for financing. This must change.
Regardless of who is in power at the Alberta legislature, partisanship is not going to get the job done. If our city needs resources addressed, including inadequate mental heath or addictions support services, then we need to address it directly with the province. This is not technically in the city’s mandate, but the city has a moral obligation to ask for help when required.
We have the opportunity to work with our provincial government, the ones in charge of public health and be advocates for those suffering. Let’s put partisanship aside. When I saw the announcement for 400 new treatment beds to battle addictions, I became hopeful we are heading into the right direction. This is a 30% increase in our current provincial capacity, and it is a great start. I know these beds and the professional providing care would save lives and reduce the negative effects of addictions in our community, including one of the root causes of homelessness. Additionally, I want to see similar supportive services take shape in regards to mental health.
The City of Edmonton will become responsible partners and help expedite those with addictions and mental health into provincial programs for treatment. Once treatment is completed at a provincial facility, these individuals will be able to be “home-ready candidates” and be able to transition immediately into the program I will explain in the below article.