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Obs Journey Update: July 2023

Dear Obs Journey friend,

It has been a while since we last communicated but things are still moving along and it is time for an update. We are realising the complexity of our challenges and how there is not going to be one simple solution.

Our challenges
• A shortage of jobs, housing, social support, addiction support and mental health care in a bad and worsening economic climate.
• A growing number of people living on the streets, many of whom struggle with addiction and mental health issues.
•The lack of effective, sustainable support systems–at least in Obs­–to help our unhoused residents get off the streets, coupled with a lack of will by some to get off the streets.

Good intentions are not enough.
We recognise that while Observatory is a generous community, good intentions are not enough. Many of our unhoused neighbours who get donations (of food, clothes, blankets, toiletries, etc.) sell them. This fuels their addictions and keeps them on the streets. Even the amazing shelter suits donated by Kimon last year were all–bar one–sold within a week.

Finding a location for a U-turn Service Centre and Safe Space
We have investigated a number of organisations that are working with unhoused individuals, and we believe that U-turn has the most effective model. (Visit this webpage to learn more about U-turn’s model.) U-turn is keen to operate in Observatory, so we are on a serious hunt for a space to have a U-turn Service Centre and Safe Space. 

In our last newsletter, we shared with you that U-turn was close to getting such a space. Unfortunately, that option did not work out, and we are very actively exploring alternative sites.

While we continue looking for a suitable location, we want to start the conversation about how to fund a service centre and safe space in Observatory. Will you please take our brief survey on funding a service centre and safe space? We want to get a sense of the support we might be able to expect from the community. There are five multiple choice questions which should take you just a couple minutes to answer. The results are confidential. Start the survey.

If you have any other ideas, suggestions or would like to get involved in The Obs Journey, please contact us at theobsjourney at gmail dot com – the journey belongs to us all!

– The Obs Journey team (Carolyn, Janine and Laura)

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