City’s social problems have deep roots

City's social problems have deep roots Social issues require social solutions. In Jacqueline Ronson's Friday article, "Chamber pushes for trespass act," Rick Karp of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce refers to "these social issues" and "social problems

Social issues require social solutions. In Jacqueline Ronson’s Friday article, “Chamber pushes for trespass act,” Rick Karp of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce refers to “these social issues” and “social problems” repeatedly. However, the chamber’s pushing for a trespass act to further marginalize an already incredibly strained segment of the community seems, to me, decidedly anti-social.

The symptoms, in these cases, are too often confused with the problems – addiction and homelessness are symptoms of much more complex and harrowing social maladies than having an unpleasant encounter while shopping, or having to clean up broken glass and cigarette butts.

The real solutions will be easier to find when we start asking the real questions: Are there prejudices at play in the cultural climate surrounding this issue? What percentage of the people in Whitehorse living with addictions and without adequate housing are also struggling with mental health issues? Have we, as a society, taken the proper efforts and put forward realistic funding to house the hard-to-house? There are a few questions we need to be asking and answering.

Well-established models of social housing exist in other communities (Cool Aid in Victoria and Rain City in Vancouver are two excellent examples). The “housing first” model is being implemented in cities around Canada as a proven evidence-based model that will deliver better results for those in need.

And the federal government is funding these projects to the tune of $120 million dollars annually – our municipal and territorial governments should be looking at these examples right now and working with local groups like the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition to get things rolling. The financial costs of such facilities to build, maintain and staff (and we have been told that the money’s there!) are far less in the long-term than we are currently spending on “Band Aids” like policing, paramedics, hospital care, courts and corrections; not to mention legislating amendments to trespass laws.

We need places where the community as a whole can become more comfortable, compassionate and connected; places where “social problems” can be properly diagnosed, treated and cured, rather than ignored or incarcerated.

Chris Howard


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wyatt's World for Oct. 28, 2020.

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 28.… Continue reading

Yukon Child Care Board chair Amy Ryder says the board could be playing a bigger role in childcare policy making if they had more financial support from the Yukon government. (Submitted)
Yukon Child Care Board asks for larger role in annual report

The board is asking for a larger budget to increase outreach and advice

Yukon’s clocks will no longer change in March and November but will remain permanently on Pacific Daylight Saving Time. (Courtesy Yukon government)
Off the clock: Yukon prepares to end seasonal time changes

Starting on Nov. 1 Yukon will be one hour ahead of Vancouver and two hours ahead of Alaska

Dawson City as scene from West Dawson. Art Webster, the vice-chair of the Dawson Regional Planning Commission resigned last month over the Yukon governments unwillingness to pause speculative staking. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Vice-chair resigns from Dawson land-use planning commission

NDP warns that not pausing mining activity is the road to a second Peel decision

The opening ceremonies of the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg on July 28, 2017. The 2021 Canada Summer Games have officially been rescheduled for Aug. 6 to 21, 2022, exactly one year from the date the national competition was originally set to take place in the Niagara region of Ontario. (Canada Summer Games/Flickr)
Canada Summer Games dates set for 2022 but uncertainty remains for Yukon athletes

Yukon athletes continue waiting to get back into schools

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read