An artists rendering shows the Abby Digs project proposed for Valley Road in Abbotsford. Submitted

Staff recommends turning down application for homeless ‘dignity village’

Support from service providers, but opposition from local residents

A proposal to build 40 small cabins for the homeless on a vacant parcel of land will go before council Monday afternoon.

In a report to council, city staff have recommended rejecting the project’s request for a temporary use permit for a property on Valley Road, off of Highway 11.

While staff say the project would help provide emergency shelter for people experiencing chronic homelessness and praise the “commitment and energy” by the Abbotsford Dignitarian Society, which has put forward the proposal, they cite a range of concerns with the application. Staff note that it doesn’t align with the city’s affordable housing and homelessness plans, and that the application lacks sufficient “evidnce of formal service partnerships, sustainable capital and operating funding” and a track record with similar projects in the past.

Staff also suggest that clustering 40 units in one area could increase risk to occupants’ personal safety. Separate buildings for washrooms and kitchens are proposed on site, but staff say that a lack of such facilities within individual units could lead to health concerns.

Other concerns surround the nature of temporary use permits, the need for servicing on the site, and worries about the safety of occupants when walking along the area’s roads.

The city received a petition with more than 120 names of people opposing the project.

But the proposal did receive written letters of support from organizations at the forefront of providing services to homeless men and women, including Abbotsford Community Services, Lookout Society, and the Mennonite Central Committee.

The staff report “recommends further convened multi-stakeholder dialogue with the Abbotsford Dignitarian Society, City of Abbotsford, statutory agencies, and community partners to work together through the merits and concerns through a Housing First approach lens independent of this application.”

Council will have the final say, though, and is set to hear the application in its 3 p.m. executive council meeting.


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation unveils 2019/20 board

Michael Adkins elected chair and Todd Kesslar is vice-chair

UFV launches school of creative arts

New school combines theatre and visual arts

Pints n’ Pitches coming to Abbotsford

Free Oct. 16 event brings together people to foster potential business ventures

BC Children’s virtual care sites open at Abbotsford and Chilliwack hospitals

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

McKenzie Road shut down by police for hours last night due to mental health incident

People reportedly heard police negotiating with individual to come outside house

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read