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Community members gather in Kamloops to talk crime and social disorder

Members of the community gathered to learn about social disorder at an event at the united Church on St. Paul Street in Kamloops.

More than 100 members of the Kamloops community gathered at a church this past weekend to collaborate on finding solutions for the ongoing social disorder in the city.

The Finding A Way Forward event was held at the Kamloops United Church and featured a presentation by the local Canadian Mental Health Association executive director Alfred Achoba.

Achoba shared his perspectives on the social disorder in the city and what kinds of things can be done to improve it.

“I always say this world is big enough for everyone, there is a role for everyone in this crisis,” he said. “Coming from a country where I had never experienced homelessness, I’d never seen someone overdose, it took a lot for me to realize there is so much in our community that is broken.”

Achoba said the community needs a different kind of response including more housing, more policing and more help for those who are struggling.

“One of the biggest reasons for people being homeless is a breakdown in family relationships,” he said. “A lot of what we see today started from homes, started from schools, started from losing loved ones and not having that support system around you.”

A deeper collective understanding of the issues and more compassion are also needed, he said.

“Not until you put yourself out there to see what people are experiencing, not until you spend time to come into a shelter, not until you talk to the individual on the street who is hearing voices, you actually have no idea what people are going through.”

The Finding a Way Forward dinner was hosted by Mastermind Studios and Aim Canada Mentorship Society as part of the organizations ongoing efforts to bring people together to find solutions to the crisis.

READ MORE: Construction well under way for new tiny homes for homeless Kelowna residents

In attendance were members of the community representing many perspectives of the crisis including the heads of business associations, representatives of city non-profits including the Aboriginal Friendship Society, councillors, business owners and those in active recovery.

“I think the solution lies in how we as humanity uplift each other, it lies in how we bring solutions, in how we realize there is hope in every human, even with those we feel are so lost,” Achoba said.

“The businesses are suffering, we know. I get calls all the time and most of the people are mad, telling me if you didn’t do it, they wouldn’t come. And I say they're already here, they are brothers and sisters, they’re here."

READ MORE: Kamloops trauma councillor shares insights into city's social disorder

Ticket proceeds will go to the community mentorship program and to help pay for the development of a documentary film series called Crisis Storm that addresses homelessness, mental health, drug overdose, crime and communication breakdown.

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