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

Whitehorse

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

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read