Maybe I am just a naive dogooder but the story about the city of Medicine Hat in the south of the Canadian state of Alberta inspired me and made me wish that we here in Fremantle would do something similar.
In 2009 the Medicine Hat Council pledged to put and end to homelessness in their city and six years later they have achieved it. No one spends more than ten days in emergency shelter or on the streets, as the city will provide them with a house.
The Mayor of Medicine Hat was against the proposal when he was still an Alderman on council in 2009, but says now he is totally converted and that the system works. He claims it also costs a lot less to provide people with accommodation than it costs to look after them while they are sleeping rough.
It breaks my heart here in Fremantle, in such a special place on earth, with great community spirit and in a very wealthy state in a very wealthy nation, that we have so many homeless people. I see 4-5 homeless people most early morning at the Freo Post Office, looking miserable and cold. Up at Captain’s Lane near the Round House, in the caves at Arthur Head, under the bushes and boardwalk at Bathers Beach, and in shop entries all over the city, many more of the poor bastards try to stay dry and warm and find some shelter. It makes me so sad and disappointed that we don’t look better after those who need our help.
Yes I know that some have themselves to blame, I am aware that some are drug addicts and others are alcoholics, but I also know that many have been raised in disfunctional families and had to endure violent and sexual abuse. Medicine Hat did not judge their homeless people, they did not blame them, and they did not say it is the State’s problem, they decided they could do something about it and they did, and we in Freo could do something similar!