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Homelessness, Addiction & Social Disorder

Homelessness, Addiction & Social Disorder

Here’s where I stand Disclaimer: I spoke publicly in front of Council when they last considered a Safe Injection site. Those comments are part of the public record.

I have my own ‘lived experience” with drug addiction, and certainly can remember my time spent couch surfing without my own home. I have empathy for the community living a less fortunate life. I know that one of the most important aspects to getting well and having my own space to call home was the people around me. Positive reinforcement, encouragement to do better, an opportunity to build self worth through ‘participation in society’ and a great deal of personal effort were the proper ‘treatments’.

I also understand that every circumstance is different, and there is no one-size fits all approach.

Our current council has failed to provide any relief or solutions. They have failed our entire City, from the downtrodden individuals forced to sleep outside, the portion of our community living with addiction, to the residents throughout our city suffering from petty crimes largely (and sometimes falsely) attributed to the homeless population.

We need an immediate ‘housing first’ initiative to start the process of fixing chronic homelessness.

When elected, I will spend my time pressuring our local, regional, provincial, and federal partners to implement a compassionate emergency crisis plan that can actually address chronic homelessness, chronic addiction and the resulting social disorder.

I will advocate for ‘exclusionary zoning’ and mandated affordable housing through our local planning process, like cities such as Kitchener and Peterborough where new high-density developments must include a percentage of units in the social housing category.

Further, I will appeal to local builders to find ways to incorporate tri and quadplex homes, built close to the necessary amenities, that are aesthetically consistent with their medium density communities that can help to successful re-integrate families that have been forced out of their homes through the gentrification model.

But our immediate concern MUST be the families with children. And while I disagree with the spending on non result programs, as a Council beginning our term in December, we need to fund and implement sufficient out of the cold resources for this winter, with a goal to long term solutions early in our term of Council to break the cycle of chronic homelessness.

How do we solve the public drug use, the discarded drug paraphernalia, the fires, the petty crimes, the escalation to more serious crimes and all the other substance abuse behaviors that are plaguing our community right now?

The long-term solution is quantifiable. Currently we are not provided with the vast amounts of money being spent through various budgets and programs, as they are spread between City, Regional, LHIN, Provincial Healthcare and even the legal systems.

I will advocate for greater accountability of public spending, at all levels including agencies and Not For Profit entities competing in the business of community services and healthcare sectors.

I will demand comparisons of the current outpatient model of treating addiction with a more holistic, compassionate, inpatient treatment program with sufficient beds to treat the current population. I expect those comparisons will drive resources away from many of the current unsuccessful programs and into an expansion of long-term treatment facilities which will provide results driven data and actual rehabilitation over paper-shuffling lists of visits, appointments and compassionate care statistics generated to ensure future funding of an ineffective model.

This approach will certainly not fly well with an upper tier government and lobbyists who prefer the known funding model of outpatient clinics, service hubs, duplication of services, and ever-increasing wage budgets in the emergency, law enforcement, criminal services, and health services sectors.

We need to break down our community of less fortunate into appropriate groupings of who they are and how they can best be helped. We need to stop labeling all as ‘lawless’ or criminals, as addicts or as other undesirable categories, and place them within manageable groupings of specific required treatments and services., rather than forcing them to conform with current funding and outpatient models that haven’t worked for 20 years.

We need to provide the housing resources, including peer led residences, and integration and oversight resources to first get the chronic homeless and chronically addicted off the streets. Then we can provide appropriate addiction rehabilitation resources, health service oversight, mental health service treatment and oversight, that is required by the individual or group, in a manageable working setting that encourages success rather than simply meets easy funding approvals.

I understand there is a minority who are homeless by choice, that refuse to abide by the rules, and yes, may have a criminal element. And we will need to lobby the provincial and federal governments, the justice system, and the social services system to provide adequate resources to local municipalities to deal with the criminality that is more than a catch and release system of acceptance. Judicial diversion programs MUST have an element of rehabilitation to be successful to the individuals and our society.

It will not be a quick transition and victory, especially with the expected backlash of currently funded agencies and lobbyists, but we need to address the failures of the ‘system’ and the successful programs being implemented and designed outside of the inpatient model.

Ultimately, this type of service will be no more expensive, if not even less expensive, than the way we are currently MIS managing the issue. With proper treatments and oversight, with proper housing and supports, we will be able to reduce the costly policing, emergency and health services and the untold cost of social damage to our city, businesses, and neighbourhoods.

I believe in the hand up versus hand out model, where we break the cycles of chronic homelessness, addiction, and poor mental health.

Vote for Logic. Vote fore Reason. Vote Jeff Davis

As we kick the campaign into gear, I look forward to knocking on your door and engaging with you. In the meantime, please follow and share me on: facebook

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Twitter @JeffDavisOshawa

Thank you, everyone. Contact me with your thoughts, ideas and concerns. Let me work with you to improve Oshawa, starting with Ward 4.

Jeff Davis Candidate for Regional and City Councillor, Ward 4 Oshawa

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