Homeless action plan is a work in progress

Those who say nothing is being done to address homelessness in Chilliwack don't have their facts straight

A persistent refrain surrounding the issue of homelessness in Chilliwack is that nothing’s being done.

It may not be a majority opinion, but it is often the loudest.

That’s unfortunate because it disparages the work that is being done to address the issue.

Tuesday night’s information meeting was another step in that process.

Given the apparent enormity of the problem (and the incessant chatter on social media about how little is being done) turnout was light.

Those who managed to leave their Facebook accounts for a couple of hours heard a bit more about the 28-page draft action plan – which has been available online since its introduction at a city council meeting a month ago – aimed at addressing homelessness in the city.

It’s a plan that was not created in isolation.

It’s not the mayor’s plan. It’s not city council’s plan.

It is a proposal crafted with input from the more than 40 agencies who are actively attempting to help Chilliwack’s most vulnerable.

And they have had past successes.

Five years ago the 23 transitional units in the Chilliwack Health and Housing Centre didn’t exist. There were no transitional and emergency shelter beds (44 in total) at Ruth and Naomi’s. The 33 units at The Village on School Street had yet to be built. And the four emergency shelter beds for at risk youth at the Cyrus Centre were also only a dream.

In all, there are currently 142 transitional beds, as well as 22 emergency shelter beds in the city. There has also been an increase in options that provide greater affordability.

The fact that more can be done should not diminish the work that has already been accomplished.

The challenge this community faces is strengthening the partnerships that already exist, while bringing all levels of government into active participation.

Mindless chatter about how nothing is being done does little to contribute to this effort.

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