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Government officials, community groups meet in Charlottetown to discuss homelessness

People from different levels of government met with community groups at Jack Blanchard Hall to talk about what to do about homelessness. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
People from different levels of government met with community groups at Jack Blanchard Hall to talk about what to do about homelessness. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

The City of Charlottetown held a meeting Thursday to talk about ways to address homelessness in the city.

People from multiple levels of government as well as community groups discussed issues such as social housing, encampments and how to best offer services to vulnerable populations.

One topic of discussion was decentralizing said services.

District 12 MLA Karla Bernard said they need to be offered in communities where people live.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

"Why are we focusing on Charlottetown? We should have services and supports in communities all across the province," Bernard said.

"We might have someone in Souris who is unhoused and lives with addiction issues and would like access to an overdose prevention site. We're expecting them to come into Charlottetown."

No one facing homelessness invited

A voice missing from the room was that of people actually facing homelessness.

Officials said that was an intentional decision to not cause more stigmatization.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Charlottetown Mayor Phillip Brown said if there are more meetings, those facing homelessness will be asked to attend.

He said one of the suggestions at the meeting was to create a task force on housing.

"Why don't we look at a capitol region task force made up Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall and we can team up with what Summerside is also doing as a municipality looking at the unhoused?" he said.

Bernard said the meeting resulted in a good first conversation, but that it needs to continue.

"So many great ideas in there, and we need to capture that and run with it," she said. "Otherwise this was a pointless exercise and I don't think that was the intention. And I look forward to what comes next."