Nothing should be permanent when it comes to homelessness
Re: Mayor Corrigan has his say on the homeless shelter issue (NewsLeader, Feb. 1)
Mayor Derek Corrigan got it right, if you read the whole article with care.
His position is stated in the fourth column. He wants to give the homeless services, supports and affordable housing and he is talking about permanent housing.
He has been saying this for many years. Elsewhere in the interview he points out that the senior levels of government have the resources to deal with this. He is right. Where is the national housing strategy?
The point of contention is clearly stated in the middle of the second column which refers to Corrigan's "opposition to a permanent homeless shelter in Burnaby…”
That’s the key phrase in the whole discussion.
If we have a "permanent" homeless shelter, doesn’t that mean that we regard them as permanently homeless?
Most homeless shelters are in Vancouver. That is because most of the people who need them are in Vancouver. Vancouver has the worst neighbourhood in the region. So far we have no such neighbourhoods in Burnaby.
Are we to import them?
A permanent homeless shelter is a Trojan horse for exporting skid row to the suburbs. The mayor’s metaphors are a bit extreme, but we all know that some of the substance abusers do steal. Once they decide to dry out and to pursue employment that is the time to move them out of the bad neighbourhoods. Until then, their services should be close to home and home is downtown.
As for the mentally ill, they need a good staff to assist them in the community, or in dedicated sites like Riverview, depending on what works for the patient. The province should act quickly on this and re-build Riverview in a more convivial style before it is lost and they should continue to fund the community programs.
And finally, if Sean Condon in his letter of Feb. 8 ("Mayor demonstrates inability to adapt"), really considered all options for the people who sell his newspapers, he would be looking for permanent affordable housing, just like the mayor said. Key words: permanent, affordable.