My review of Eric Weissman’s book on intentional homeless communities

I’ve just reviewed Eric Weissman’s book on intentional homeless communities. Points made in the review include the following: -Intentional communities in general are communities built around specific goals. But in the case of this book, I mean small communities of housing sometimes made from discarded, donated and recycled material, and sometimes purpose-built, to address homelessness. -Intentional communities are not the […]

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Homelessness, harm reduction and Housing First

I was recently invited to give a presentation at a two-day event discussing the overdose crisis and First Nations, with a focus on southern Alberta. My presentation focused on homelessness, substance use, harm reduction and Housing First. To read the blog post synthesizing my presentation’s key points, click on this link. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He […]

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Homelessness and employment: The case of Calgary

I’ve just written a blog post about homelessness and employment, with a focus on Calgary (where I live and work). Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Persons experiencing homelessness usually have poor health outcomes, making it especially challenging to find and sustain employment. -There are several non-profits in Calgary that assist persons experiencing homelessness to find and […]

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Working in the Homeless-Serving Sector

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve reviewed an excellent new book written by Professor Jeannette Waegemakers Schiff.  The book is written for people who do ‘front line’ work with homeless persons. The link to the English version of my review is here, while the link to the French version of my review is here. Nick […]

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This election, let’s have a real debate about legalizing marijuana

On the campaign trail, Prime Minister Harper repeated assertions that relaxing pot laws will lead to terrible, horrible things: ““When you go down that route, marijuana becomes more readily available to children, more people become addicted to it and the health outcomes become worse.” The Conservative response is to escalate the “war on drugs,” even though this moral crusade has […]

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Response to Johann Hari’s TED Talk on Addiction

This is a guest blog post from Doug Chaudron: – British journalist Johann Hari recently gave a TED talk, provocatively titled “Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong.” See the 15-minute talk, and find Hari’s biography, at http://tinyurl.com/o5kp779. Some key points made by Mr. Hari in his talk include these: Current approaches to treatment don’t seem to work […]

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Private sector just not getting it up

We’ve been told for years that corporate tax cuts would work like viagra to boost private sector investment and productivity, and no doubt we’ll hear much more about it in next week’s budget.  But it just ain’t working.  Today’s release by Statscan of private and public investment intentions shows just how limp private sector investment is expected to be in the coming […]

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Best cigarette ad ever

… is from duMaurier, which in spite of its hot red packaging is making a bid to go green. The new ads (full-page in my local entertainment weekly, The Georgia Straight) read “new look. new approach. we have updated our packaging to help reduce its impact on the environment. small steps make the difference” and then, pointing at a hot […]

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Living on Welfare

The BC office of the CCPA released today a major study about life on welfare for the poorest of the poor. It tracked a cohort of welfare recipients for two years and tells the tales of how they have interacted with a nasty and mean-spirited welfare system, and also the challenges they face as people in getting and holding work […]

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Homelessness prevention

The August issue of the Journal of Primary Prevention is dedicated to articles on homelessness, addictions and mental illness. It has a US focus but many of the problems will be familiar to Canadians, too. A guest editorial (pdf) kicks off the issue by scoping out the problem, with a good summary of studies on the hidden financial costs to […]

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Drug policy and maintenance programs

Vancouver is suffering from a plague of poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, mental health issues and crime. The good news is that all of these are inter-related, and that senior governments have the funds to make a difference. So with the Olympics coming is just three years, the political culture of neglect is showing signs of activism. Vancouver’s Mayor Sam Sullivan […]

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Fighting crime through social services

Another piece for the “ounce of prevention” file. Poverty, homelessness and crime in BC have gotten bad enough that business leaders are starting to call for action. Thus far, the call has been more cosmetic, as in “get these bums out of my doorway” and “panhandlers are bad for tourism”, but it is a start, I suppose. Now the Premier’s […]

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BC’s poverty amidst plenty

My latest column for The Tyee: Without any fanfare a report popped up on the web site of Human Resources and Social Development Canada this past month. No press release, no communications strategy at all. Just another statistical report on poverty in a society that thinks of itself as middle class. But this is not just another statistical report on […]

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Housing the Homeless and Addicted

The New York Times reports on a Seattle initiative to provide homes for homeless alcoholics. They do not require sobriety to get a spot, a development that rankles moralistic conservatives. The reason is economics: it costs less to house them than what is currently spent on health care, detox and criminal justice. New York and some other major US cities […]

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