A new supportive recovery facility for men has been approved for Mountview Street in Abbotsford near the historic downtown core.

A new supportive recovery facility for men has been approved for Mountview Street in Abbotsford near the historic downtown core.

New supportive recovery house for men approved in Abbotsford

Facility located on Mountview Street near historic downtown core

A housing agreement for a new nine-bed supportive recovery facility for men has been approved in Abbotsford following a public hearing that saw some residents express concerns, mainly about parking issues.

City council voted in favour of the project, located at 2916 Mountview St. in central Abbotsford near the historic downtown core, with only Coun. Les Barkman opposed.

The project is located in an existing 10-bedroom single-detached home and operated by Living 4 Change, which has been working in the field since 2000, according to a staff report to council.

Jeanette Dillabough, who owns the home and currently rents it to four tenants, addressed council at the public hearing on March 28.

She spoke to some of the concerns that had been raised at a previous council meeting and through a survey of neighbourhood residents.

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Of the nine responses received, eight said they did not support the facility, with some expressing concern about the safety of their children.

Dillabough said she has worked for 20 years in the field of homelessness, affordable housing and addiction, including starting the well-established Raven’s Moon Resource Society in 2009.

She said it’s important for people in recovery to be included in a community, rather than segregated.

Dillabough said residents of the home will be involved all day in programs, chores and meetings.

“They’re not running around the neighbourhood stealing cars,” she said.

“…I’ve been doing lots of good work in this community for many years, and I know what I’m doing. I’m not going to let things happen in my neighbourhood. It’s my neighbourhood too.”

Three area residents also spoke at the hearing, and all said that parking has been an issue.

Barkman also said the parking issue was a concern for him and a reason he was voting against the project.

The residents said they believed the vehicles parked on the street belonged to the current tenants of the home and they were worried about how much worse it would get as a recovery facility with nine residents (in addition to Dillabough).

But Dillabough said she has a large gravel area on her property that fits six cars, and most of the men living there will not have vehicles. The ones currently parked on the street do not belong to her tenants, she said.

Any parking concerns can be reported to the city for further investigation, staff said.

One resident said she is is concerned about the facility adding to existing issues in the neighbourhood.

“The area feels saturated with populations that are really struggling. I’ve had people cooking heroin on my front lawn. I’ve had people with mental-health issues in my driveway and breaking glass everywhere,” she said.

Councillors who spoke in favour of the project said the recovery house is desperately needed.

ALSO SEE: Few complaints about supportive housing project in first year

Mayor Henry Braun said that, although the city once had 11 recovery houses in operation, there are now only four.

Staff said, since 2007, the city has received only 12 complaints about supportive recovery houses and most of those were related to snow-clearing and garbage.

Coun. Dave Loewen said before the city established a policy about recovery houses in 2008 or 2009, the facilities were “all over the city doing what they pleased.”

He said, since then, the city has “brought some order” to such homes and the programs have been successful, “restoring men back to their families and their communities.”

“I’m not aware of any serious problems that we’ve had. The issue of parking is a red herring in this. Parking has absolutely nothing to do with the criteria around which we give permission for these supportive recovery homes,” Loewen said.


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