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 doesnâ€™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, itâ€™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 donâ€™t think just giving housing and money really solves the issue in the end. By work I donâ€™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. Iâ€™m definitely one of those who would rather teach someone to fish for themselves rather than me doing it for them.
That way, they donâ€™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. Isnâ€™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 canâ€™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).
Iâ€™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.