The City of Trail has launched a multi-pronged program to provide urgent assistance to a growing number of vulnerable people in the downtown core including those with mental health and substance use issues.
The City and its Community Safety Task Force, a multidisciplinary group set up to provide advice to City Council on strategies related to community safety, wants to work with federal and provincial ministries to take immediate action. As well, the City is petitioning the RCMP National Headquarters to ensure the local detachment’s chronic staffing shortages are rectified.
Health officials are being asked to consider an overdose prevention site in Trail as well as enhancement of the full suite of supportive services offered such as additional outreach support, addiction services, and counselling resources. Housing Minister David Eby is being petitioned to move forward with the provision of supportive housing as the City’s homeless shelter is unable to provide the level of service that is required for our community of vulnerable residents.
The pandemic and opioid crises coupled with a shortage of affordable rental accommodation has seen an increase in vulnerable people living on the streets and requiring immediate help. In addition, there is an identified need for supportive housing and Council has met with BC Housing and hopes this gap can be effectively addressed.
Local businesses, already negatively impacted by the pandemic and public health restrictions, are experiencing property crimes including vandalism, shoplifting and graffiti.
“The BC government has allocated half a billion dollars for mental health over the next five years and we are hoping some of this money can help our most vulnerable people,” said Trail Mayor Lisa Pasin. “Our safety and social services are doing everything possible but they are overwhelmed by the need.”
The City has increased its regular downtown street and alley flushing and is also working with other organizations to assess the following initiatives:
- Increased lighting and security cameras downtown
- Graffiti removal
- Consideration of the placement of port-o-potties in the downtown core with the possibility of a long-term plan to construct permanent downtown public washrooms
Mayor Lisa Pasin has sent letters to federal and provincial government ministries asking for immediate assistance. Concerned citizens and business operators are being encouraged to fill out a form letter available on the City of Trail website at www.trail.ca/HelpingOurVulnerable to send to elected representatives, government officials, the RCMP and Interior Health voicing the need for urgent intervention to help Trail’s most vulnerable residents.