Homeless crisis needs “transcendence of the nation state”


A scholar who spent 12 years working with homeless people summarizes his perspectives on how homelessness relates to “mental illness” in the Georgia Straight. “There are no comprehensive solutions to these problems from within our socio-political system,” writes Ed Durgan. “Modern architecture, psychiatry, and psychology all suggest an abundance of solutions to these crises. However, they are appropriated by politically powerful coteries to further entrench their positions.”

Durgan points to his experience helping build Vancouver’s Olympic Tent Village. “That success, compared with others from around the world, suggest a grassroots-led revolutionary transcendence of the nation-state model could lead to a “homes for all” situation.”

Ed Durgan: Lessons from Vancouver in homelessness and mental illness (Georgia Straight, June 19, 2014)



  1. Excellent, informative, humane article while being very maddening and depressing when one thinks of the wasted billions of the power elite served by biopsychiatry to prey on, exploit and increase the suffering, stigma and isolation of the traumatized poor and homeless while hugely profiting at their horrific expense. As usual, their pretense of helping these people publicly while plotting their greater destruction and homelessness secretly is so despicable it is mind boggling. This is what Dr. Robert Hare describes in his book, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work and the increasing number of books published about malignant narcissism as well with the growing obvious epidemic of such character “disorders!”

    Nice to see at least some people/experts dealing with this current “no win” like Dr. Gabor Mate and the author of this article have some compassion, decency and caring for people driven to these extremes by trauma and other long term misfortune.

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    • I agree, it’s sad those in charge aren’t coming up with proper solutions to society’s problems, and in fact are merely making matters worse, due to the greed of those in charge.

      I was living not many blocks away from Cabrini Green, a notorious Chicago housing project, while I was taking architecture classes where we discussed the societal injustices associated with the housing projects, when the decision to close Cabrini Green down was announced.

      At the time, I thought the city had made a wise decision. I was, however, under the impression the city would be using the money from selling the now very valuable Lincoln Park real estate, and the enormous real estate tax increases (my brother still owns the building, and his real estate taxes went from $3200 / year when I was his partner, to $32,000 / year, after Cabrini closed down) to help provide new housing for the former Cabrini residents.

      Given the extremely high value of the real estate, with the housing project gone, and the staggering real estate tax increases, there would have been more than enough money to provide interspersed low income housing throughout the city for the displaced Cabrini residents, and others going through financial difficulties. But perhaps this promised end result never happened? I’m not certain.

      Providing housing (without mandating psychiatric drugging) for the poor, and decreasing rather than continuing to increase income disparity is what will help society. For profit only corporations, and a government controlled by them, is only making matters worse.

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