By Vince Dimanno. Mike and I are weighing in heavily on this issue [It’s Complicated] and that should tell you how important it is. Mike ended his column by saying this issue of low income housing is not complicated … and it isn’t. However, I am going to throw a few more facts at you so that you can continue to get a bigger and bigger picture of why we feel the way we do.

The Objections

Here is a list of the objections for not building a facility like this anywhere in Abby:

  1. It will attract more homeless people
  2. It will put businesses at risk
  3. It will put people and children at risk
  4. It will devalue the property in the area
  5. Crime will come to the area

There are more, but let’s keep it simple. These are the big ones.

The Truth

  • Langley just built a new shelter and associated services facility. It has nearly solved their entire homelessness issue. Our homeless aren’t leaving to go to Langley though. Why not? Cause they are poor you morons! Harsh yes, but I’m sick and tired of Ritchie Riches telling homeless people to move on. They can’t. Homeless means no BMW, no bus pass. Do you not understand that they hang around the Sally Ann because they don’t have money for food and you think they can just go to another city, or come here, like you go on vacation? Every city in the Lower Mainland has more and better run facilities than Abbotsford … they all do … Vancouver has open shelter beds every night, low income housing they can’t fill up … and yet our homeless stay here. Why? See above and stop with this stupid argument. It won’t go away no matter how much you want it to.
  • What businesses? The location is perfect. It is within walking distance of the Sally Ann, it is right beside both Abbotsford Community Services, and the bus hub. In that area are very few businesses. On the block there may be none. If the ADBA can’t fill up the open buildings on Essendene and Montrose, what the hell are they talking about with a spot up behind the ACS building?
  • 4, and 5. Have you ever even walked around this area? I maintained an office right across the street from the ACS building for quite some time. The residences that are at the top of Montrose are already low income housing. The area is already full of homeless people and after dark, it is patrolled by hookers and drug dealers. Your solution to these issues is to keep them on the street? Put a facility in place, one that can provide basic services and perhaps some of these people will get off the street and the opposite effect will take place. There will be less crime, less homelessness, less people sleeping in the doorway of the businesses you are trying to protect.

Nobody wants any of these facilities in their backyard. In many cases, that is valid. In this particular case, it is not. Why? Because they are already here. We are not moving homeless people out of Jubilee Park and down Ware Street to the Peace Lutheran Church where none currently exist (this was John Smith’s idea remember…he actually proposed getting buses to take them out of the park and dump them at the church for food … no return ride was offered). Rather we are building a facility in an area they already occupy. This gets them off the streets and will instead clean up the area, raise property values and more.

But … here’s where the complications come in. The facility has to be done right. It has to be run properly and it has to be committed to their tenants long term. It also can’t be just a flop house that takes the welfare cheques away from the residents. Someone in Abby needs to visit the facility in Langley and learn how to do it right. By the way, the facility in Langley is in the old downtown area.

I wonder why they chose that area?

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