October 26th, 2020

Can you imagine what could be done to address homelessness?


By Letter to the Editor on March 2, 2020.

Oki; I took the opportunity to attend the official announcement by the UCP provincial government, regarding the $11-million investment to help the homeless in Lethbridge. It is good to see that the UCP government, MLA Nathan Neudorf, city council and the previous government are working towards addressing the homeless and marginalized citizens in our city. There was also a strong contingency from our First Nations Leaders which demonstrates, their desire to be involved in the process of healing.

The information available at the announcement was scarce; $11 million, 42 permanent, supportive-housing units ($261,900.00 per unit) and construction in 2021. Residents are left with a lots of questions: the location with the obvious (not in my backyard) concerns, which is unfortunate; when they say permanent, is that for life or transitional, until people can get back on their feet so to speak? Are the homes for one, two or a family or multiple usages? Is rent paid? Who manages the facility and who pays for that and continuing cost of maintenance? I am sure there are many more questions that will be forthcoming.

I saw a news article recently regarding providing housing for homeless vets in Calgary at a cost of $100,000 per unit, including a lot of services and amenities right at the development. As John Lennon’s song “Imagine” said, “Can you imagine” what if this project took on a similar approach, so instead of 42 units we would have 110 units?

In the article in the Lethbridge Herald, there were a couple of interesting points; 73 per cent of homeless people in Lethbridge are Indigenous. Also, Indigenous scholar Jesse Thistle-Wilson explained there are multiple social and economic losses to homeless Indigenous people and the need to build culturally appropriate support. So once again, “Can you imagine” if the Blood Tribe, with its $150-million settlement with the federal government/Canadian taxpayer over the 100-year-old cattle fiasco, would also be part of the plan? With an extra $11 million we would get an additional 110 units. I think it is worth the “ask.” Depending on the availability of support services, rehab, medical needs, education/job training and all culturally appropriate, the additional units could be part of the original project or built on the Blood Reserve. That would go a long way to fixing the homeless problem in this city. Can you imagine, what would be more culturally appropriate?

Barrie Orich

Lethbridge

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Citi Zen

Total boondoggle of a plan. Regardless, much of that money will be gobbled up in studies, conferences, and trips?

UncleBuck

Main takeaway point from this letter: keep all the indians on the reserve, whether they are from there or not, or want to be there or not.

IMO

In addition to UncleBuck’s succinct observation, Mr. Orich’s letter represents nothing more than a thinly disguised racist rant.

Mr. Orich’s failed copy and paste from Tim Kalinowki’s January 31, 2020 Lethbridge Herald article, Help for the homeless, is not missed. Here, Mr. Orich clearly demonstrates he has absolutely no idea who Jesse Thistle is or why Minister Wilson quoted him.

Moreover, Mr. Orich compares apples to oranges to make his point when he compares the proposed local development for the homeless with that of the work of the Calgary based Homes for Heroes charitable organization, who build homes for homeless veterans at a cost of $100,000.00 per unit.

https://homesforheroesfoundation.ca/

https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/tiny-home-village-for-veterans-opens-in-calgary

https://globalnews.ca/news/5344326/spin-for-a-veteran-homeless-calgary/

Finally, Mr. Orich is obviously oblivious to the irony of his reference to John Lennon’s, Imagine.

Shame.

biff

notwithstanding imo’s observation, the writer raises in the second paragraph of the letter some questions that may not yet have been answered. moreover, there is the staggering cost of 262K$ per unit – ridiculous! 42 units does not come close to what is needed, and no wonder, given the luxurious per unit cost.
most working, already struggling to remain housed, people in lethbridge could not afford a 262k home, and many to most that have owned homes for many years in lethbridge may not get 262k for their home in today’s market.
the price per unit, and the questions related to getting some real clarity raised by the writer, and, whether the housing will be made available to any in need regardless of race, ethnicity, religion etc. suggest this program may be a fail before it begins. indeed, at 262k per unit, one is left to wonder whose pockets are being lined in this one.

ewingbt

Excellent points Barrie . . . we should be going after Ottawa for funding for the indigenous impact to our community, such as additional police, accommodation, supports due to our close proximity to the largest FN community in Canada, and close proximity to 2 others that we see represented on our streets.

Much of our problems we see on our streets is from addiction! Homelessness, crime, open drug and alcohol use for many reasons but there are traumatic experiences that need to be dealt with through effective addiction treatment programs . . . we keep on throwing money at the results of the addictions, the rippling impacts, but cower when it comes to treating the addiction, resolving the ‘high’ rates of homelessness, crime, etc.. We will always have addicts, criminals, and people with mental health issues, but if we treat the addicts and those with mental health issues effectively, that will get most of them off the streets and give them better lives and the citizens a better city and better lives . . . all would benefit and in the long-term, it would be a fraction of the costs we now face!