Barry Shantz

Articles by Barry Shantz

barry-shantz-bas-stevens-photo-copyHomelessness and the Drug War in Abbotsford

interview by Dave Diewert

DT East: Abbotsford has been in the news recently regarding homeless camps that the City wants to dismantle. The latest homeless count stats (2011) set the number at 117, a significant drop from the previous count. What, in your opinion, is the homeless situation in Abbotsford? Barry: Determining the homeless population in Abbotsford is difficult. The recent published count is severely flawed. The author personally told me that he deliberately flawed it because he needs to keep his job. The police followed him around so he was reluctant to go some places because he knew he wouldn’t be welcomed; and he knew he was distorting the facts. So when you have a group of people so terrorized that they are hiding, there is no way we can get an accurate count. And when you get into the different types of couch-surfing scenarios, there could be 7 or 8 people who stay in one place. If that situation is lost, boom there’s another 8 more people on the street until another couch-surfing option. Tent cities exist as well, and that’s plural. Four or five, maybe six … it’s hard to tell because many don’t want to be found.  So I don’t know, 500, 600, 700. (…)




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