It shouldn’t come as a surprise that city hall is now in possession of a petition opposing the creation of a so-called “dignity village” on Valley Road.
Transition housing for homeless people often draws such a response, with would-be neighbours fearful of the potential of property crime, drug use and dealing, vagrancy and other issues.
Many times, such fears are baseless or overblown.
But acknowledging the problems with NIMBYism does not mean some places are not well-suited for homeless housing projects like the village.
The petition is right when it states that “an urban problem cannot be fixed with a rural solution.”
Residents will know better than most of the inconveniences of living in the area without a vehicle.
The distance from the proposed village to any services – not only the Salvation Army but grocery stores, medical clinics, and social services – makes the plan ill-conceived. Equally disconcerting are the precedents that would be set by the city in providing sewer and water services for such a purpose on private property, and the human rights challenges that are bound to arise when authorities eventually want to shut it down.
Earlier this year, a tied vote led to the city’s rejection of a supportive housing project on Montrose Avenue, after local businesses came out opposed to the project. The city has been searching for a solution to the homelessness issue ever since.
The answer is unlikely to be found by housing the homeless in the most out-of-the-way spot possible.
Yet, the homeless do have to live somewhere, whether it is in a camp or in a supportive housing project, or in a unstructured tent city like the one now blighting Gladys Avenue.
Wherever they are, they will be living in someone’s backyard.