In the letter “Squatters just relocated to park” (April 8), C. Howard writes of understandable concerns. We live in a community that is fine with out of sight, out of mind. That goes a long way to explain why the original protest camp chose to be so visible.
Since that visibility is now lost to most Abbotsford residents, we have resumed life as usual, which translates to fewer calls to city hall to “do something about the homeless.” Regardless, calls to the city will simply elicit a response that the low-barrier residence on Gladys will be up and running next year, and the Riverside shelter will remain in service until then.
It’s unlikely you will be told that the low-barrier residence will start with just five residents – this is an experiment, after all – and that individuals from the Riverside shelter are considered “housed” as long as they are placed in a detox program lasting longer than 30 days.
The reality is that we live in a province that is slow to provide affordable housing, proposes $175 million in construction costs at Riverview to provide 17 new beds for the region, and allows wait times for detox beds to be as long as three weeks.
City hall may also tell you that homelessness is not a problem a municipality should have on its plate. Yet another article in the April 8 issue of the News is titled “Economic development program in Ukraine.” My guess is that many citizens would rather see tax dollars go towards housing rather than to sending staff to yet another off-shore destination.
If that guess is correct, not much appears to have changed at city hall – our council is as out of touch with taxpayers’ priorities as ever.