LETTER: Homeless issue not going away

A recent editorial comment pondered whether the protest camp on the edge of Fraser Health property was a useful exercise

A recent editorial comment pondered whether the protest camp on the edge of Fraser Health property was a useful exercise.

I wish I knew the answer. Abbotsford’s homeless population is not diminishing; and many of the expenses incurred due to senior government inaction accrue to our city.

I’d need more than my fingers and my toes to calculate what has been spent to not house anyone. There are garbage collection costs (often outsourced), costs to our local police and fire services, the tax dollars allocated to the physical shelter on Riverside, outreach services to those living on the street, and legal costs of both our city and Fraser Health.

Then there’s the recent cost to fence a chunk of city land to keep out those who had been sleeping there. At over $23,000, I can imagine better targets for those tax dollars.

The list should also include the almost half a million dollars of federal funds to document our crisis of homelessness – ostensibly to ensure that service provision does not overlap. In my opinion, providing actual housing may lower the need for that service provision.

And there are the ongoing costs to a “service provider” for the Riverview Shelter. You may remember that shelter – it was supposed to be a stop-gap measure. Yet because no housing is available, this shelter will likely exist for a long, long time into the future – even though shelters are much less cost-effective than providing actual housing.

At the most recent HAAC (Homeless Action Advisory Committee) meeting it was reported that Abbotsford has 42 sites where one or more homeless individuals reside.

I expect many of those campers want housing. And some may want both housing and detox. Well, the latter are out of luck times two. According to a Sept. 12 report by CBC (re: B.C.’s fentanyl crisis), B.C.’s addiction services are “outdated, ineffective, or very hard to access.”

I still can’t say whether the protest camp will help. But I sincerely hope something does.

Regina Dalton

Just Posted

Trail-cam thief unaware of being on camera

Anyone recognizing the thief urged to contact Abbotsford Police Department

Sumas Mountain vs. Fishtrap; Rd 3 voting opens in best-park bracket

Voting continues in ongoing bracket to determine Abbotsford’s favourite park

Abbotsford police cruiser t-bones civilian vehicle en route to emergency call

South Fraser Way and Gladwin blocked off as police conduct investigation

Matsqui Trail vs. Bateman/Stoney Crk; Rd 3 voting opens in best-park bracket

Voting continues in ongoing bracket to determine Abbotsford’s favourite park

VIDEO: B.C. Mountie killed by drunk driver honoured by memorial playground

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Most Read