I am writing today to express my extreme disappointment that Hope’s council did not approve the 52-bed supportive housing project proposal here in Hope.
The people who need this housing already live here in Hope. They need somewhere better to sleep than in business’ doorways, in tents or cold old trailers in the bush or on the side of the freeway, on friend’s couches, or in moldy falling apart old houses. They need somewhere clean and safe to live, and food to eat, to be able to work on and recover from any of the issues they have in their lives.
How do councilllors expect people to access supports and services when their days are consumed with finding a place to keep warm and to sleep, food to eat, and a place to go to the bathroom and keep clean?
Housing for people experiencing homelessness needs to meet people where they are, providing connection to the resources that people need to work towards living a healthy, stable life. Housing first!
This site, close to community services, supports, a grocery store, the RCMP detachment and transit is perfect. At a remote site, there is no access to services, no regular transit access, and no integration with the community, which is essential for people who are working towards a healthy, stable life.
These would be people who would pay rent, and sign a program agreement about appropriate and respectful behaviour and a good neighbour agreement. These will be people who want safe secure housing and help.
Research shows that it costs much more to ignore our housing problem than it would to fix it. And that’s what you are doing, ignoring it, ignoring people who live right here. By not investing in supportive housing, taxpayer-funded costs for physical and mental health care, policing, jails and prisons increase.
People who need these services are already living here in Hope and deserve safe secure housing and supports to help them deal with whatever they are dealing with. They will be selected because the outreach workers know them and know they are ready and willing to work towards a better life.
I both work and live in Hope and strongly believe this would be a positive development for everyone in our community, and that council should reconsider their support for this project.