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Busy Month for Homeless Outreach Worker

Everybody is doing twice as much as they normally do according to a homeless outreach worker in Williams Lake.

Wayne Lucier with the Canadian Mental Health Association says he has been kept busy.

“I don’t know if it’s because we have more people who are becoming homeless or if more people are in a bigger crisis this year and that has a lot of different reasons why.”

Lucier says the main two reasons are the rising costs of affordable housing and groceries.

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He says he’s continuing to work closely with an advocate and a couple of other agencies in town to bring in a Housing First Project, as well as some changes when dealing with disabilities.

He says that says there are some individuals suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) who should have been placed on a disability a long time ago and that their biggest roadblock right now is a shortage of family physicians.

“We definitely need doctors to help us get these people on to disability,” he said.

“Without the disability, they’re just falling through the cracks because in order for them to be able to get onto social assistance, for example, you have a work program you have to follow.”

Lucier says many individuals suffering from severe FAS cannot follow the programs and often miss dates.

He says because of this they get asked to leave social assistance and often end up becoming “drifters” with no support, and engage in illegal activity winding up in jail.

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