Happy Friday! Here’s our weekly roundup of media stories about social issues in Calgary:
New housing for working poor
The Drop-In Centre is hoping to get its northeast low-income housing project off the ground, and held a meeting last week to outline its plans. Debbie Newman, executive director of the Drop-In Centre, told CTV that most of the residents will be employed. “Probably 90 percent of the people that are in here will be working, some of them may be pensioners, and some may be on disability income, so it will be a mix of individuals,” she said.
CBC Breakdown series
CBC Calgary continued its series on mental health, focusing on the justice system. Provincial court Anne Brown told CBC that the “vast majority” of the cases she sees “involve some aspect of social disorder behaviour or mental illness.” She called the criminal justice system a “blunt instrument” for dealing with people who have health problems. “Certainly they may have committed crimes — petty crimes usually — against other members of society, but they are themselves vulnerable people so that’s the frustration I feel,” Brown told CBC.
The numbers are staggering. Police chief Rick Hanson, who is United Way’s 2013 Campaign Co-Chair, said this issue is a police priority, as “we know that probably 50 per cent of people that are in prisons and jails suffer from an undiagnosed mental illness.” See CBC’s website for more stories in this series.