Voids In Services

Tri-Cities have more than 200 homeless.There are many voids in available services, each of which impact an individual’s well-being outside of homelessness. They include a lack of access to basic medical and dental care, a lack of suitable clothing including footwear, limited or no access to clean water and personal hygiene care, lack of quality food including the ability to meet the nutritional needs of compromised individuals, and a dearth of resource information including the requisite empathy and encouragement needed to assist individuals in making positive changes.

There are other barriers as well; beliefs or conditions which contribute to or impair an individual’s ability to find suitable housing: substance abuse, mental illness, total lack of financial resources, familial abuse, concurrent disorders, arrest warrants, and urban myths and misinformation, including paranoia from mental illness or substance abuse.

Further hampering the provision of services is the lack of a cohesive approach to support services. Individuals facing homelessness, especially for the first time (including youth being released from foster care), may not know where to go to gather information on the resources available to them. Dealing with a variety of agencies can be overwhelming to most people, let alone those with a mental illness or addiction.

We know that in the Tri-Cities, we have more than 200 individuals who are homeless and approximately 62% of the homeless call Port Coquitlam home. We know that there are people in the community who would like to do more to help. We also know that to-date, our focus has been on providing short-term management of the problem of homelessness, not on finding permanent solutions.

We need these permanent solutions. We need to identify sources of appropriate housing and, when necessary, supportive housing. We need a cohesive approach to providing services. This is why MATH has brought together a team of people from the non-profit sector, faith-based organizations, the business community, concerned individuals, like-minded organization, and the City of Port Coquitlam to develop a plan to find homes for good.