Black Press file

LETTER: Intelligence, human decency needed in supportive housing debate


I’m writing this to comment on the article in last week’s newspaper for the supportive housing discussion with city council.

I was deeply angered by the assumption of some of those who are opposed, who unreasonably assumed that all individuals needing the housing proposal to stand are drug addicts and criminals and trouble makers.

I am one of those who is hopeful for the housing support, and I work whenever possible. I lost my job to COVID shutdowns that have still not been lifted and are still affecting my workplace. I was doing so well at my job too. I have never had an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

I live surrounded by addicts in my current housing because I can not afford a better environment at this time and am desperately trying to find a reasonable way to fix my social economic issues — I do understand the anger and frustration of feeling unsafe and always on guard — but I deeply oppose depriving any person of their charter right to security of person by denying them affordable housing. This action is not only degrading, it is beyond vile.

As for the proposed location, it’s right beside the RCMP station. Come on people — it doesn’t get safer than that! The opposition issues raised aren’t sensible or fair whatsoever. Pushing the homeless to the outermost edges of town is not going to ensure that these people — who cannot afford vehicles in a township where the bus service is severely restricted at the best of times — will be able to access food, clothing and mental health or drug addiction services, or timely hospital and emergency care if in crisis, or timely police attendance, if needed.

Distancing the problem will cost the community — in lives, police time and cost, health care time and costs, ambulance time and cost, city liability, and so much more.

At night, the most addicted will not go home and watch TV or sleep because home will be too far away. They will wander the streets all night in search for opportunities to meet their wants and needs. You see what I am saying here, right? The opposition’s excuses are not logical.

I hate drugs and addiction with more passion than anyone I know. But setting these people up to suffer or die by pushing them out of town as far as they can be pushed is a punishment worse than anything that has ever been done to the community itself.

This community cannot abandon or ignore these people without truly showing an extremely troubling, selfish and evil underlying nature. Maybe asking for virtuous behaviour towards people who “might become” threatening to peace and prosperity is a lot to ask. The virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance, in case people have forgotten.

I am the first to admit that I seethe with anger sometimes at how badly I have been hurt and victimized in my life to the point where I am now living surrounded by the very things I hate the most: poverty, drugs, deceptive people, and potentially worse. And I say this bluntly from lived experience: go ahead and try to ignore the problems around you and pretend these painfully tough issues won’t hurt you over time. Go right ahead and try.

Hope has ignored the homeless issue for a very, very long time. Is it working out well yet? The problems are definitely getting worse fast.

It’s time to use our intelligence and human decency to get this problem addressed to where it can be lived with.

Lastly, thank you to House of Hope for saving me and my guinea pigs and for giving us a home. You guys deserve way more credit for bestowing so much good on those who really do need it most, whether we deserve it or not. Your people and organization are the epitome of “non-discriminate virtue”. Bless you.

Jenny Doran

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