55% of people experiencing homelessness in Burnaby have two or more health conditions, significantly more than the general population, including mental health and addictions. Homelessness is also deadly: the Society has records of 51 Burnaby people of Burnaby who have died as a result of the long-term effects of homelessness and extreme poverty between 2005 and 2018.
As a result, and with the 2016 declared opioid crisis throughout BC, the Society undertook public engagement to reduce the stigma towards people using drugs with the hoped for outcome of bringing greater safety and understanding towards people who use or have used illicit drugs.
We held four community dialogues, one in each quadrant of the City of Burnaby, plus two youth specific dialogues. The 38-member planning group met twelve times to plan the events, 81 volunteers helped make the events successful, donating approximately $26,375 in-kind labour!
We asked people to register for the public events via EventBrite and the registration page was viewed by 851 individuals of whom 130 registered. 107 community members attended the public events, while 44 youth between 14 and 20 years attended between the two youth dialogues. 10 People With Living/Lived Experience also participated.
All six events were very successful in deepening understanding and engagement in these issues.
· The Dialogue Planning table unanimously agreed to pursue a grant application to form a Community Action Table (CAT) successfully, and the majority of the members continue their involvement through the CA
T· The youth dialogues will continue, with leadership and support of the local School District.
· People with lived and living experiences are continuing their involvement through the CAT
See full report under Event’s tab.