Pete McMartin: The intractable problem of addiction and the mentally ill


It’s been hoped for years that securing safe and affordable housing for the homeless and mentally ill would go a long way toward reducing substance abuse and addiction rates among that population.

That belief has been a cornerstone in government policies in B.C. at both the provincial and civic levels, and among the social welfare agencies that advocate for that housing.

But a new study just released by Simon Fraser University contradicts all that.

It found that housing interventions had no effect in decreasing the rate of addiction and substance abuse among those who were both homeless and mentally ill…

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We started Cliff Avenue with 39 living in tents and 45 at the Salvation Army shelter. Right now, Maple Ridge has three low barrier facilities operating at capacity to provide 125 beds. An additional 316 homeless have been placed into 'scattered housing' throughout the community.

Add to this, the 60 individuals still living rough in ravines and wooded areas. We are doing more than other Lower Mainland community. How many homeless are we expected to house? The proposed BC Housing plan will add an additional 50 low barrier beds.

Maple Ridge

Current # Of

Current #
Of Beds

Proposed # Of Beds
Per 1000 People

Times The
Local Average*

*Based on the average beds per 1000 residents in Lower Mainland cities excluding Vancouver. Click here for more detailed information.