There’s been lots of conversation lately in Edmonton about public safety, enforcement, healthy communities and how best to address the housing and homelessness crisis. We need a massive shift in the conversation. We need to get away from an enforcement first approach and move toward policies that get at the underlying issues facing our communities.
We all want to live in safety and dignity and lately too much focus has been placed on increasing police budgets at the expense of public health, social supports and housing. Engaging City Council in Edmonton is one of the best ways to share your thoughts. Next week on Tuesday, February 7, we have an opportunity to engage with city councillors and the Chief Medical Officer (CMOH) for Edmonton about public health and the public interest.
Dr. Sikora, the CMOH for Edmonton, will be at the Edmonton Community Public Services Committee, and we hope you can join us.
Our Executive Director Bradley Lafortune is going to go and talk about housing and housing supports, and I know many others will be there to talk about much needed investments in community supports, EMS, and the continuity of services available for vulnerable Edmononians.
We put together a few notes on things you might want to ask or think about incorporating into your thoughts.
- What exactly is being done to prevent Edmontonians from being discharged from health institutions back into homelessness?
- What impact does our current homelessness experience have on the healthcare system?
- What is the current estimated wait time for recovery beds?
- What are the financial impacts to the city of chronic homelessness?
- How are deaths or injuries to those with no fixed address tracked?
- How are deaths reported?
- How are amputations or other traumas tracked and reported to the public?
- How are emergency rooms coping?
- How do young people under 18 get supported with health care needs?
- How many folks in Edmonton have serious medical conditions that are in need of care, but are homeless (ex. diabetes, cancer, other)?
- How are pregnancies supported?
- How are burn treatments handled when someone can't be safely discharged for care?
- How many recovery beds are available?
- What is the plan for discharge after completing recovery treatment? Back onto the street or is there a bridge program?
Key Messages for Supporters
- Edmonton is an amazing city and we want to make sure its a safe and healthy place for all.
- Lately, there have been a lot of stories about the rise in homelessness and drug poisoning deaths in Edmonton and I’m interested in hearing more about it from a public health perspective.
- Not only is it the right thing to do to make sure each and every Edmontonian has real access to supports and services, like housing placement, while moving through our public health system, but it’s also the fiscally responsible thing to do.
- As we hear more about community wellbeing and community safety, I want to simultaneously hear more about housing, mental health, addictions, and access to income supports and public health solutions.
- I believe that housing and access to high quality public healthcare is a right for all Edmontonians, but I’m worried that too many people are falling through the cracks and suffering
- I’m looking forward to hearing more about your presentation today and I hope that you can shed some light on the human and system costs that occur as a result of inaction on the housing crisis in our city.
- At the end of the day, housing is a human right and so is adequate access to good healthcare.