LETTER: No to low barrier housing, without mental health and addictions treatment


I am against the low barrier housing project in Hope. I did not register to speak at the public meeting as I’ve spoken at public meetings before and already know them to be nothing more than a theatrical show of concern.

BC Housing will not be here to deal with the issues that low barrier housing without added treatment services will bring. Look at the issues Victoria is having after BC Housing bought the hotels for low barrier housing. It was on the news, several times, an endless circle of not my problem.

Well it is a big problem and the people in charge need to deal with it. Every provincial government took part in closing down mental health and treatment facilities in this province. The party in power would be criticized for closing beds and facilities by the opposition but when the next election rolled around and the opposition formed government, the roles would reverse. Facilities would be closed, opposition would criticize and so on and so on. The idea was that 90 per cent of the residents would be integrated into the communities and the 10 per cent left would have access to the almost non-existent facilities left. Well of course doctors wrote letters protesting every closure, pointing out to the party in power at the time that closures would result in overburdened emergency rooms. The doctors accurately predicted the burden that would follow. RCMP, local police forces, hospitals and communities would be overburdened and untrained to deal with people who need proper mental health and treatment facilities. The success rate of this multi governmental “plan” was not 90 per cent, it wasn’t even 50 per cent. The “success” rate was 10 per cent. Our provincial governments have failed 90 per cent of the people in need of live-in mental health and treatment facilities. They have failed the hospitals, RCMP, local police forces and communities.

Crime in Hope is high. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Business are being hit by thieves daily. They don’t just break in and steal, they destroy property too. The RCMP do what they can but Crown Council calls it a victimless crime, which makes no sense. In order to be a crime there has to be a victim. Charges are rarely filed and the cycle continues.

Our fence has been cut, our gate has been smashed, our dog has been peppered sprayed, security cameras and equipment stolen, doors have been destroyed and cars vandalized. My husband has been sleeping in a trailer at work for over a month now, to prevent the endless costs downloaded to us by a provincial government that thinks giving a house to someone with a disease but not treating that disease is the big fix. The thieves who continuously attack our peace of mind have housing. We go there to try and get back what they’ve stolen every time they manage to sneak past our security protocols. So low barrier housing obviously isn’t the answer. Live-in facilities with mental health and addiction services is the solution. It will remove the burden from those who should not be carrying it, who are untrained for it and are overwhelmed by it.

Cancer is a disease. The government doesn’t give a person affected by cancer a bed and say there all done now, heal yourself. Why is it OK to do that with addiction and mental health issues?

Build the facilities that are needed. Build the facilities that will help everyone in the community. Don’t build low barrier housing.

Sara Burleigh