Cracks are starting to appear. People are being left behind. In areas like affordable housing and mental health, the social well-being of our community needs attention. We have seen in other cities and regions how this can spiral out of control.
We cannot allow this situation to escalate without a meaningful response that calls forward the knowledge and experience of the many agencies that touch the lives of everyone involved. I believe that there are opportunities to apply strategic approaches based on what has been learned in other jurisdictions.
What we know today is that there is a myriad of service providers and regional programs that serve our citizens in the areas of public health, addiction, harm reduction, mental health etc. each working in their own silos. It’s a fragmented approach. I believe we must identify the services we have, the gaps between them and align these efforts to build a comprehensive eco-system of social services that enables each of these services to work together in a truly effective way. This does not mean merging services. We benefit from a multitude of service providers who are geared toward serving a diversity of clientele. I would not want to lose the strength of these differences. They can, however, be stronger working together.
The Region has done well with investments in economic and hard infrastructure. Let’s turn our attention to investment in social infrastructure and be strategic in ensuring that we take care of the well-being of all of our citizens, and that no-one gets left behind.