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Letters  

Housing first doesn't work

Recently, when asked about Kelowna's homeless, Mayor Basran said: "There's no overnight fix. We're doing the best we can." Sadly, that's probably the truth.
 
Kelowna's Journey Home "housing first" model isn't bearing much fruit. The mantra of getting people into housing first, then dealing with services they need, is seeing too many wanting that offer. 
 
Truth be known, housing first is an obsolete idea from the 1980s that has resoundingly shown more failures than successes. Two primary reasons for that – one size fits all, and no accountability.
 
It's easier said than done when you give illicit drug addicts the option to do so. Treatment is voluntary. Obviously, chances are better for someone who still has reasoning ability. No matter, one size fits all.
 
Accountability just isn't there. Overseers such as the Auditor General of BC, and Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts have tried to pry homelessness program "risks, benefits, costs, options" from BC Housing, but have been met with refusals to answer.

BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay claims public interest immunity. In other words, the public does not have the right to know. This stance is defended by A-G David Eby.
 
With this haphazardry, it's not surprising that two Journey Home cornerstone components are continually missing in their initiative. Truth, honesty, transparency, and consultation with neighbourhoods.

Gordon and Janet Brooks, Kelowna



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