EDITORIAL: Step forward for homeless

Finally – positive action on the homeless situation in Abbotsford.

Finally – positive action on the homeless situation in Abbotsford.

In coming weeks, the occupants of the “protest camp” on Gladys Avenue and other street people will have another option available to them – warm, supervised shelter for the winter months in construction trailers on Riverside Road, along with support services to help them address long-term housing and health issues.

There are some who say this took far too long, and they would be right. But along with former councils that dragged their feet for years on this critical issue, a finger can also be pointed at the feet of the activist Drug War Survivors group and its advocates.

Their legal challenge to the city’s bylaw that banned camping in parks froze this chronic issue in the courts for about two years. The city had to defend against the litigation, and that cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

The outcome achieved little, since the judge’s ruling was essentially a mirror of an earlier Victoria case, in which the court ruled the homeless could camp overnight on public land, but had to pack up during the day.

Shortly after the case was over, the city announced the temporary shelter, as it could have done earlier had it not been legally hamstrung.

Even so, as the case plodded through the courts, the city resurrected an earlier unsuccessful plan for a 31-bed permanent, low-barrier, supportive-housing project to be built next year.

Clearly, governments and their constituents, not the justice system, solve complex social issues such as homelessness.

Next, we need to see the speedy end of the Gladys camp. And following that, further momentum on long-term measures for the homeless in this city.

It’s unlikely the issue will ever be completely resolved. Some will refuse whatever is provided. So be it – as long as the support is there when and if they become ready to receive it.

Just Posted

FULL HOUSE: Patients feel the effects, with Abbotsford hospital at 118% capacity

Patients decry lack of privacy and sleep in B.C.’s most-crowded major hospitals

End drug prohibition to curb overdose crisis: Abbotsford advocate

Doug Smith with Drug War Survivors says removing criminal aspect would curb the crisis

Man sentenced for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

Developers to unveil plan to transform Aldergrove mall into new town centre

Community to find out new Aldergrove Town Centre plan for dormant 10-acre lot in heart of downtown.

Tensions mount over Abbotsford homeless camp removals amid cold snap

City calls camp removals a safety issue, advocates say actions risk health and safety of homeless

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Twilight Drive-In announces open season start date

Opening weekend will showcase a double feature with Aquaman at 7:15 p.m. and Glass at 9:50 p.m.

Most Read