Homelessness – an emerging shared vision


I’m hearing an increasingly shared vision of what’s needed to address homelessness in Victoria and elsewhere. I’m not the expert, but I talk to a lot of people about this, pretty much daily. Your ideas of how to address this challenge are welcome!

By the way, this isn’t everything needed to address homelessness. Just a start.

And this post isn’t primarily about other problems like mental health, drug toxicity / overdoses, street disorder, crime. Those will need other interventions. However, addressing homelessness would help for some of them.

Needed actions include:

1. Establishment of permanent affordable and supportive housing, with the full range of wrap-around supports and services. This is already being carried out by the province and needs to be scaled up significantly and quickly.

By the way, affordable housing and supportive housing are distinct things. Some unhoused people only need affordable housing. Some will need supportive housing i.e. housing plus supports and services.

2. While that scales up, establishment of temporary designated spaces where people who are unhoused can shelter (eg. tent sites or tiny homes), with peer and provincial supports and management. Not in parks. Not on sidewalks. Not in doorways. Planned spaces, likely on hardscapes.

3. An adequate number of safe consumption sites, and an over-abundance of detox, treatment, rehabilitation, transition housing. Why an over-abundance? Because when someone is ready for detox and treatment, it needs to be available right then. Not 6 weeks later or even 2 weeks. We need to provide clear, open pathways out.

Finally, and this is key, we need an intentional and planned distribution of all of the above at a regional and provincial level, not concentrated in one city.

Thanks for reading this far. Please share your ideas about what other key pieces are needed.