The executive director of the Hope and Area Transition Society (HATS) is optimistic about a proposed supportive housing and shelter project.
As details have emerged in Hope Standard coverage, Gerry Dyble has been encouraged that the public seems open to the idea. There may not be universal agreement on some elements (wet vs dry housing, for example), but she said the tone is different from the last time supportive housing was on the table.
“This is our second kick at it, because it went to a public hearing for a different location next to the police station in 2021, and it was defeated.” Dyble said. “But this has a different feel to it in the sense that Fraser Health and B.C. Housing have come in with a more robust level of services.”
Dyble believes people are responding to the idea that this will be more than just low-cost housing and a shelter, that people who live there will receive the help they need to change their situation.
“We (HATS) will operate it and staff it 24/7, and Fraser Health will have a team of people in there providing on-site services for mental health and addiction,” Dyble noted. “BC Housing also recognizes the need for specialized positions and programs. It feels more collaborative this time around and that feels good.”
The online information meeting was characterized as being very early in the process. Dyble would prefer the building and its services were in place yesterday, but she acknowledged the community may need time to see the need because it’s not in their face as much as it is in other places.
“We’re surrounded by forests and people are camping on the riverbanks and in those forests and not in your downtown Memorial Park,” she said. “The typical citizen in Hope doesn’t see it because they might not be out on the walking trails or going up the Skagit. I believe the District (of Hope) sees the need, obviously, and their big concern the last time was the location and the lack of services.
“Both issues have been addressed and I’m hopeful this time around this is going to pass.”
Dyble has her fingers crossed that there’s a public hearing before summer. There’s a municipal election coming up in the fall and she said they want “to get it in the queue for rezoning.”
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