Thursday, September 22, 2011

Low Barrier 'Wet' Housing In Nanaimo

Vancouver Island Health Authority
Needs To Make Some Things Clear

Now that the location of the north end low barrier wet housing project has been announced, the firestorm of opposition has been nearly instantaneous. The online version of the Daily News likely received more comments about this announcement than all other stories they run combined.

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about how these projects are going to function and those misunderstandings can be directly blamed on the complete lack of information that VIHA has provided regards the operation of these projects. The lack of clarity coming from VIHA has left the city of Nanaimo's social planner (yes, we have a social planner) Mr. Horn to try and answer questions which he clearly has no authority to answer since he has no say over how these projects are going to be managed. You might question exactly why we need a social planner, as that type of social engineering should likely fall to the province.

There were hundreds of concerned citizens in attendance when the city entertained a public hearing regards the project adjacent Quarterway School. Many concerned residents expressed themselves to council, who listened very politely but in all likelihood have very little knowledge as to exactly how these projects will be run either. Their opinions are based on the desire to help homeless people in Nanaimo and see that the considerable funding approved by the province is actually used in Nanaimo and not put in jeopardy. But there is no one on city council who can say with any authority that these facilities will not simply become havens for the  drug addicted and drug dealing blights on the neighbourhoods where they locate.

Questions that VIHA needs to answer, it is not fair to expect city councilors to know the answers to these questions as they have zero say on how these projects will operate. If VIHA chose to fill up one facility with people transitioning from prison to freedom, the city would have no authority to stop them.

Question for VIHA:

  • Are these facilities only going to house people with drug and or alcohol issues?
  • Are these facilities going to provide housing for people being released from prison?
  • Are these facilities going to be suitable to house the single parent who can't afford regular market housing in Nanaimo?
  • Are these facilities going to be suitable for housing seniors on fixed incomes who can't afford market housing in Nanaimo?
  • Will homeless and drug addicted souls be brought in from other communities?
  • What studies support the concept of wet housing?


1 comment:

  1. Do you know something that I don't? As a resident of the Quarterway area I have been repeatedly told that there is no service provider yet for these proposed housing projects. Will it be VIHA? If so, why are they shy on saying so? If council know that it is VIHA then they could have saved themselves a firestorm of irate citizens by putting them up for Q & A with residents. I don't think VIHA have the necessary number of qualified staff to do it, after all these will be high burnout positions. But if not VIHA, then who? Hopefully we will not stoop to hiring 'former' sex offenders to supervise these shelters as has just come to light in the DTES. Until they announce WHO will be responsible you can't really blame neighbours for having concerns.--Jaye Macfarlane


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