Living in such a neoliberal society where economic prosperity and success is a key factor for resulting in the general well-being for the whole, the rate of homelessness becomes intensified and severely problematic in Canada, especially in Vancouver. Although Vancouver is one of the most successful and economically developed cities in Canada, it is evident that homelessness becomes highly visible which results in various problems and complexities (Eberle, Kraus, Pomeroy, & Hulchanski, 2001). Homelessness often causes various problems such as neglecting individual’s equal human rights and dignity, creating a binary between rich and poor which privileges one over the other, and normalizing richness which marginalizes homeless people who are living in poor conditions (Eberle et al., 2001). In order to resolve such complications, it is desperately necessary to maintain improved health and social services, provide adequate housings, and offer job opportunities to the homeless.
In order to handle the diversity within homeless populations and the complexities that exist, it is necessary to design and tailor service planning, service delivery and development, as well as service utilization, to meet the needs of the homeless populations while ensuring that health outcomes and service engagements are implemented and improved. In Vancouver, the number of homeless individuals with mental illness, addictions and/or health problems is growing, specifically people with HIV, disabilities, and substance misuse (Eberle et al., 2001). With such particular individual needs, health care services and social services need to effectively design and implement corresponding policies that can provide support and service for individuals and implement these policies that takes in consideration each person’s multiple needs. However, with the shortage of shelters, these individuals are unable to locate services often resulting in disengagement from social services and exacerbated health problems, addictions and illnesses (Eberle et al., 2001). According to John Stackhouse (1999), an award-winning scholar and writer, “when [people] stop talking about the “homeless” as though theirs were a separate world” (par. Epilogue) but instead see these homeless individuals as “integral pieces of our society,” (par. Epilogue) the problem of homelessness can get resolved beyond looking at helping them survive for one night. In saying so, Stackhouse (1999) asserts his view that the homeless need more than just shelters to rehabilitate themselves. The homeless need individuals who are willing to listen, relate and recognize their personal issues as personal development stories underlying their lives. He relates his experience in meeting homeless individuals on the streets and how each individual has special qualities and characteristics that they can offer (Stackhouse, 1999). Stackhouse (1999) reiterates how “isolation and belittlement” (par. Epilogue) perpetuate homelessness further. However, with current social services and standards put in place, these individuals are unable to get the personal development that they need in order to recover. Christopher Edwards (1997), a re-known writer, editor and publisher, claims that mental illnesses are best treated when people “take the time to seriously listen to delusions instead of treating them simply as artifacts of a miswired brain” (p. 50). Edwards (1997) states that by doing so, people can truly understand and treat the struggling patient rather than relying on medication. By stating so, Edwards (1999) emphasizes the importance of having human interaction, expression and reflection in treating a person with mental illnesses. Accordingly, homeless individuals struggling with mental illnesses should have long-term treatment where their issues, delusions and problems are listened too and treated individually in order to truly assess and resolve mental issues that exists.