Dr. Elizabeth Watt Speaks Out On ACS Proposal

Dear Mayor Banman and City Council Members. I am writing to voice my support for Rezoning Proposal R13-010.

The proposed 21-unit apartment building at the end of Montvue Avenue in Abbotsford is
exactly what this city needs. I have lived and worked in Abbotsford for over 25 years, and
have seen the sequelae of untreated Mental Health and Addiction issuesincrease in visibility
and severity almost exponentially for those living without support.

I understand that there is trepidation on the part of the downtown businesses and residents
in the area of the proposed building, so I have researched as much as I can on the policies
and procedures that will be put in place once the apartment complex is ready to inhabit. I
believe that Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) has planned proficiently for this

The building will be on ACS land next to their main offices, so experienced support
personnel and services will be readily available to serve those who will be housed, and
security measures will be reliably in place. It is evident that once a dispossessed person is
safe, dry, and no longer trying to exist on a daily basis, steps can more readily be taken to
address his Mental and Physical Health concerns.

It is also evident that people with Addiction issues have better treatment
outcomes if the issues can be managed without the constant stress
of survival on the street. The opportunity to house 20 men, who are living in
makeshift shelters or foliage on the street in the same downtown area already, will create a
positive shift for businesses, residents, and the men themselves.

My family and I live up behind the Gladys Avenue Salvation Army shelter. I see firsthand
what goes on within Abbotsford’s susceptible populations, and am pleased that there is a
place in my neighbourhood that is willing to help where it can. I have also worked as a
physician for most of my career in Abbotsford, and have dealt mainly with marginalized
populations. Most of the positive changes I have seen in patients over the years have been
accomplished with the support of their communities.

The visible homeless shelters that pop up at different times and places in Abbotsford are a
reality that we need to address as a Community. Sadly, they represent only a fraction of
those who live without stable shelter, as many know how to hide themselves well to avoid
detection, trauma, or removal. Our Communities are known by how we treat our most
vulnerable, and I hope that we can do the right thing for this population.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth J. Watt, B.Sc., MD, CCFP, FCFP

Dr. Watt isb Abbotsford’s 2013 Citizen of the Year Recipient & ACS Board of Directors Member

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