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Operation Phoenix

This is a local issue as here in Vancouver there is this new initiative by some large media outlets trying to raise awareness of the poor Downtown Eastside here as for years it has been plagued as the sore spots of the city. Drugs, addicts, the homeless, etc. I did make a post about this area a few months back about Trying To Operate A Business In A Poverty Area that dealt with the area in question.

Now one of the goals apparently is to raise awareness of the issue and to find solutions for it. At the same time, the attempt is to try and explore what does and doesn’t work while encouraging public input. First of all, this was the report I saw and you can watch it too if you are interested:

This topic actually interested me a lot as back when I participated in the Vancouver Board of Trade I was actually interested in volunteering in one of those committees which dealt with the poverty in that area since I think it is fixable with the right set of actions. While watching that report, maybe I am just a little bias but seeing how some of those people are struggling financially yet they are still doing things like smoking cigarettes and drinking a lot of alcohol makes me believe that we are just catering the problem.

In many ways, it’s like a person that keeps going into personal financial debt because of habits yet people keep throwing them money and resources where they end up just using it as a vehicle to continue the exact same thing for who knows how much longer until they need more again. I am a strong believer in finding the roots of the problem first as issues like these usually go much deeper.

My thought to fix the poverty issue personally is to create an environment where these people can work to sustain a self sufficient lifestyle. I personally don’t think just giving housing and money really solves the issue in the end. By work I don’t mean give them jobs at say a fast food place either. Instead, maybe there are more super old fashion approaches such as setting up an environment where people can grow/harvest their own food while having a livable shelter. I’m definitely one of those who would rather teach someone to fish for themselves rather than me doing it for them.

That way, they don’t really need money when you think about it to live and they are doing something pro-actively to fix their lives instead of sitting on the streets and expecting things to fall from the sky. Isn’t it kind of weird too how we have like a system for criminals where we give them food, shelter and recreation yet for some reason we can’t create a solution for this? Of course though, my thoughts is still the same where you need to fix the root of the problems first as oppose to just handing people things.

My question is how in the world did that area get to the way it is now and why did it attract so many less fortunate people? Why is it allowed to continually happen too, so to speak? I always found it so ironic that the police station is right there and you would think things like drug dealings and all would be less prominent in an area like that. I would like to see a report about that personally as I am willing to bet there is something in that area that is the cause of the majority of the problem. I think the 80/20 rule holds the same for this where 80 percent of the problem is probably caused by 20 percent of the people there.

As an example, in the Downtown Eastside there used to be this big business called Woodwards that unfortunately went out of business a long time ago. The building has been abandoned for the most part and so homeless people began to gather around the area and claimed that building as theirs. The thing is the city and everyone just allowed it to happen and sure enough more people gathered there. Like in that case, I can see how that can actually encourage a person to live in a homeless way. That situation has since been solved though (Albeit it was done in a forceful way).

I’m assuming a big reason that an issue like this is being raised now is so that Vancouver can try and clean the place up for the Olympics next year. So just like personal finance, hopefully what will be done is that the media will try and flush out the underlying problem first. If I was trying to help a person with their financial situation for example, I would want to learn about habits and sources that lead the person to continually mismanage money as an example. Once you know that it is usually pretty easy to turn things around.

5 Comments to Operation Phoenix

  • 😐
    What came first the addict or the street? I believe there are underlying causes as many are example of a society’s throw aways people who didn’t the help they needed or the education as they are pushed into the downtown core. Its Hell in that area as most are stripped of their human identifies as many who end up their especially those who are young or have difficulty making good decisions either brain injuries,mental illness and prison releases, etc. Its such a same when it comes to the young as have you been down to kiddie stroll as its more like a long hike now as many young on the streets are forced into to prostitution in this province. I just heard of kids as young as 2 and 3 being sold and that it was becoming only to common. Do you think that has anything to do with BC Government’s attitude and treatment of BC Kids as children are left in situations which are not only abusive but deadly. Some of the kids that survive the abuse will be on the streets I betta. So you are right about there being more behind this whole down on your luck thing its about being demoralized and dehumanized and being left for dead in the worst part of town where government make laws about pan handling while they go unaccountable for leaving many a working stiff looking for their loose change. How to help well I figure its three fold a little of them, a little of this, and a little of that and its a done deal. Drugs everywhere did you know that, well almost as cracks where its at as young people are introduced to the drug. There are little in the way of recovery as was talking to someone who said the place they were sent didn’t even have plumbing apparently also had other inhabitable recovery houses with province.

    Colleen Moore 2/4/2009 7:47 pm
  • Well, in this case in regards to that particular area I am going to say the street came first before the addict. I wouldn’t be surprised for example if there is some shady business in that area that openly sells under the table drugs where all the people in that area know about but no serious attempts have ever been made to flush them out by the city.

    It’s kind of like say a local grocery store around a school area that sells cigarettes to kids where all the students know about it but the adults are oblivious to it. Hence, that store is a big part in getting kids addicted to it and creating this mess.

    In my mind, it can’t be a coincident why everyone just decides to hang around that area. I mean we will probably always have say drug addicts or the less fortunate in every part of the world for various reasons, but when everyone gathers around this one area you know there has to be something wrong that is probably pretty obvious once you look into it. Why it hasn’t been solved yet is beyond me.

    Alan Yu 2/4/2009 8:42 pm
  • I’m with you and have been at the drawing board trying to come up with viable ideas for the problem at hand. I’m stuck on making the homeless part of their own solution as believe its the only way it can really work. I have lots of ideas as there is no one solution that will fix the problem but its can be done especially if you make the homeless part of the solution as will less likely find themselves on the streets again. A plus for sure. I also think its not a bad idea for government to quit cutting people off assistance if they are going to land on the streets and then the costs just escalate with ambulances, police, courts, and more police, and more ambulances, which really sometimes the noise of those sirens going all day long and all night long for drugs gone bad are hard to listen to those squeals. Its funny I can always figure out whats going down just from the noises of the city. I believe much can be donated and certain those scavengers can come up with materials and labors as they become part of their new home experience. Social workers, health professionals and the like will be needed but I was thinking a couple vans filled with required professionals as they travel to the various units to ensure all is well as many get back to living the day to day. You know the drudge of the 9 to 5 if your lucky enough to have a job. And there is a whole lot more as I’m into empowering the lot from single moms starting up their own co-ops, of 4 units and including on-site daycare to help reduce the costs and green is my theme. They can have gardens and the like along with a co op shop or a vehicle all depending on the dynamics as its women and children who also find themselves on the streets. Anyhow I’m just at the drawing board stage but do have a background in land development and real estate and property management. I also truly understand their plight. Anyways have a million ideas but main focus is on the homeless being part of the solutions as I’m a beliver in Y people or better yet Y Not because it certainly can’t hurt.

    Colleen Moore 2/4/2009 9:32 pm
  • I definitely agree with the notion of creating an environment where the homeless can mold their own future through the labor of their own efforts.

    About the cutting off assistance, I’m personally not too familiar about the requirements and why someone would get the plug pulled. But by the sounds of it for me this is one of those things where financially on paper it makes sense to keep giving people money when you look at the costs it can create as a result of the person being on the street. At the same time, I can’t help but to think that the person themselves are not doing enough to get out of the situation and is one of those situations where one would be just catering people to continue doing what they are doing.

    Maybe the mindset is a bit too entrepreneurial which is not for everyone, but I strongly believe that people themselves have to do more as oppose to relying on the government to get them out of a hairy financial predicament. I personally dislike it when people who are struggling financially are the same people who wouldn’t say at least work at a minimum wage grocery store job. Actually, I always wondered why we just don’t try to automatically designate the funds for these people instead to a certain extent instead of just giving them money when they probably don’t know how to manage it yet (Financial literacy is a problem for many I think anyways which is not exclusive to the poor).

    Example, the whole point of them needing income assistant is for basic living expenses like food right? Thinking about it, let’s say there is 100 people who get say $800/month. That is $80,000/month. Out of that 100 people let’s say $300 of it goes to food which makes it $30,000 a month. Just as a general economic rule, usually the more you buy the more money you can save. Let’s say 100 people ate an apple a day which costs each person normally like 50 cents for one if they bought it individually and about $15/month for each person. That’s like $1500/month in total for the 100 people using about 3000 apples. Assuming those are the standard retail rates, I’m willing to bet if you go directly up to a farmer and say “I want 3000 apples” I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you could get it for say half the price.

    Of course though, my thought is still the same where you need to fix the root of the problems first. Like saying you can spend all day with fancy plans to get rid of cockroaches that are in the kitchen, but until you have a plan to get rid of the source it will just be an endless cycle and not to mention that they multiply quickly.

    With that in mind, I personally think one overlooked aspect of this situation is the law and what the courts are doing when it comes to people convicted of say drugs and crime. I personally think the sentences are way too light and hence people keep re-offending and continue to degrade the areas such as this one. Not only that, but based on the report I saw about that BC Ferry incident and the court costs here compared to other provinces there seems to a major flaw somewhere.

    An important thing too out of all of this is that the homeless has to be in a state of mind where they want a better lifestyle and won’t accept the shoddy things that are happening around that area. When I hear things like in that report where the guy is saying “The crackheads respect us and we respect them” it’s almost like people don’t want change but rather are contempt with the way things are. All starts with having the right attitude.

    Alan Yu 2/5/2009 1:25 pm
  • Hi i have been following along on homelessness ,iam interested inworking inthat field,as i too can make a difference,. 😛

    marcy 3/4/2009 9:27 pm

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