Let me introduce my guest and his powerful story about transformation and triumph.
Eric Weissman was a child living in a home marked by turbulence, trauma, and aggression. Eric developed an insatiable appetite for consuming and selling drugs until addiction consumed him. He spent six years living nomadically and even on the street. Few break this cycle.
He didn't just break it; Eric Weissman, P.H.D. is working to end this cycle. He is one of our country's advocates for change. As an Associate Professor at the University of New Brunswick, the Research Lead for the Post Secondary Research Network, and a Board Member at the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, Eric is an advocate offering practical ideas for providing urgent needs to low-barrier housing.
And at the end of the interview let me introduce you to an idea.
I have no empirical evidence, but I am seeing many more homeless people, reading about the growing number of Canadians living paycheck to paycheck and the growing opioid crisis. And I feel anxious about random crimes by desperate people, happening in once-safe neighborhoods.
This upward trend can't continue. I would begin by tackling homelessness. At the end of the episode, I share an idea my wife and I had to tackle this problem. I might be biased, but it also might be a big idea. It isn't a hand-out; it involves a hand-up. Here is the problem, it is discriminatory.
We want to identify the top 5% of people who live on the street with the most capability and desire to get off the street. We don't care about gender, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexuality; we care about finding the individuals who aren't addicted and willing to work hard and, in return, get access to shelter, food and, most importantly, opportunity.
Why the top 5%?
We want early success, ambassadors, and role models. The best counselors in the world are people who have lived with the problems their patients are facing. Let the best of the best go back to the streets and recruit the next group of people. Anyone with the same work ethic and desire, addicted or not, we will invite them next. Give it a listen, let me know what you think.
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