Popular Resistance - Medicine Hat, a city in southern Alberta, pledged in 2009 to put an end to homelessness. Now they say they’ve fulfilled their promise.
No one in the city spends more than 10 days in an emergency shelter or on the streets. If you’ve got no place to go, they’ll simply provide you with housing.
“We’re pretty much able to meet that standard today. Even quicker, actually, sometimes,” Mayor Ted Clugston tells As It Happens host Carol Off.
Clugston admits that when the project began in 2009, when he was an alderman, he was an active opponent of the plan.
“I even said some dumb things like, ‘Why should they have granite countertops when I don’t,’” he says. “However, I’ve come around to realize that this makes financial sense.”
Clugston says that it costs about $20,000 a year to house someone. If they’re on the street, it can cost up to $100,000 a year.
“This is the cheapest and the most humane way to treat people,” he says.
“Housing First puts everything on its head. It used to be, ‘You want a home, get off the drugs or deal with your mental health issues,’” Clugston says. “If you’re addicted to drugs, it’s going to be pretty hard to get off them, if you’re sleeping under a park bench.”