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LETTER: Council decision on supportive housing ‘shameful’ says HATS board

Editor:

The Hope and Area Transition Society is very disappointed in the decision made by district council on Nov. 23 not to allow the development of 52 units of supportive housing as well as the decision to close the existing 20-bed emergency shelter as of April 1.

The denial and dismantling of life and death services to our most vulnerable speaks to how out of touch leaders in our community are when it comes to social issues. Shelter, the most basic of human needs, has been denied to those who have literally nothing.

Housing needs were not the basis for council’s final vote. It was about addiction and addiction looks different when you have a house and money. The complex challenges that our homeless people face are played out on the streets daily for all to see, for all to judge and for all to turn a blind eye to. It is unfortunate that those on council did not listen to experts, medical professionals, evidence-based research or studies. They listened to rants and opted to go with the vote that spoke to fear.

This decision will have far-reaching consequences for our community. It will polarize us, and our concern is that those who need our help have been shunned once again.

We will continue to work with our funders, our community partners and those who stand against this shameful decision. April 1 will come and 25+ people will be led to the streets, with a shopping cart full of their belongings, a tent, a sleeping bag and nowhere to go. What have we become in Hope?

Hope and Area Transition Society Board of Directors

Ruby Rempel

Susan Johnston

Pat Daws

Marianne Cameron

Marg Millar

Kent McKinnon

Nancy Hutsul

Rose Peters

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