EDITORIAL: An important project

A civic and provincial initiative now becoming reality in Abbotsford should be recognized for the major, positive impact it will have on the city.

Last week, concrete was poured for a housing project that will take up to 84 women and their children off the streets, or out of situations which could put them there.

Funded by the provincial government, the $9-million facility is being built on city-owned land on Clearbrook Road close to the Matsqui Recreation Centre, and will feature 41 apartment-style units of varying sizes.

It will be operated by the Women’s Resource Society of the Fraser Valley, which has much experience in offering services to women in need, such as local transition houses, and a drop-in centre.

There are taxpayers who chafe at the concept of public funds being used to provide shelter and support services for street people, many of whom have substance abuse issues, and engage in at-risk behaviour.

However, for those individuals, and in particular for women who rely on the sex trade for income, the prospect of leaving the streets is one which holds little hope unless there is accessible social support infrastructure, such as Abbotsford’s new housing project.

Providing these women with the basics of housing and food, especially if they have children, opens the door for them to turn their lives around, in an alcohol- and drug-free environment.

There’s little to debate in the alternative, since people on the street are still a draw on public services, such as health care, policing, and all the ramifications of street-related crime. And their children usually follow the same path.

As to the morality of helping the homeless, there should be no debate at all.