The McCullough Centre is one of Alberta’s most important resources for people attempting the long process of recovery from addiction, homelessness, and mental health crisis. The UCP wants to shut it down.
The McCullough Centre, formerly known as the Gunn Centre, has existed for nearly 80 years in Gunn, Alberta—about an hour’s drive from Edmonton. Beginning as a place to house homeless veterans of the Second World War, the McCullough Centre has changed over time—but has consistently been at the forefront of supporting homeless men, some of the most vulnerable people in Alberta.
Today, the McCullough Centre is described by program participants as a model of addiction treatment that provides significantly greater supports than other resources in Alberta. Instead of a 30-day program without further support, McCullough offers longer-term recovery, and aims to help participants fundamentally rebuild their lives and their community ties. For many participants, the McCullough Centre has saved them from spiraling out of control.
Now, the UCP wants it closed, so that they can erase one more budget line. How many lives is Jason Kenney willing to throw away?
Over the past months, Alberta’s opioid crisis has deepened. Overdose deaths have exploded as a result of COVID-19. The UCP’s closure of McCullough—like their closure of Safe Injection Sites—should be understood as wanton disregard for the health and safety of vulnerable Albertans. Now is not the time to be closing essential resources like the McCullough Centre—it’s the time to be expanding them.
If the UCP wants to invest in “recovery communities,” as they have repeatedly said they plan to do, then they should start with resources that already exist, and have a proven track record.
People experiencing homelessness are our friends, our neighbors, our families, our classmates and co-workers. They come from all walks of life and have fallen on hard times. They deserve the dignity of being helped by experienced and dedicated harm reduction workers, like those at the McCullough Centre.
If you agree that we shouldn’t leave people experiencing homelessness out in the (literal and figurative) cold, then add your name to this petition.