I am writing in response to Bruce Millington’s letter in the March 3rd edition of the Penticton Western News. I commiserate with him and agree with his concerns but am not sure about his solution to the problem. When you put people with mental health and addictions issues in a place where they can get the help they need, when they do not understand that they need that help, it is called incarceration.
I believe that places like “wet houses” should be a steppingstone towards treatment and that they can serve a valuable role in saving lives but without available treatment on demand they can be problematic. No one wants to see the street level destructive behaviour, Mr. Millington wrote about.
If effectively managed, I believe places like Compass House and Burdock House can be part of the solution to this behaviour. The problem is not “wet houses” rather it is the prevalence of mental health and addictions issues that are not being met with adequate access to care.
This is not just an Attorney General and Ministry responsible for Housing issue, or a Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions issue or a Ministry of Health issue or a Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction issue. It is an issue for all these ministries and more for our civic bodies and non-profit organizations and churches and civic groups and every individual. We need to find some way to come together and take care of our neighbours.
Sherry Ure, ND
Chair of Pathways Addictions Resource Centre