Prostitution at Maple Ridge supportive housing ‘unlikely’

Alouette Heights to open in summer, tenants will be screened.

It could happen, admits Stephanie Ediger, executive-director Alouette Home Start Society.

A sex trade worker could get into one of the 45-bachelor apartments at the Alouette Heights supportive housing complex when it opens sometime this summer on 222nd Street and Brown Avenue.

But it is unlikely, however.

Too many checks and safeguards reduce the chances of anyone in the sex trade business from moving in, and if they managed to do so and wanted to continue that lifestyle, they’d be encouraged to find another place.

“We have thought about those issues,” says Stephanie Ediger, executive-director of the society.

A UBC-B.C. Centre for Excellence in AIDS/HIV study earlier this month said indoor sex-work spaces reduce the risk of violence and HIV for prostitutes and results in better relationships with police. The study was based on interviews with 39 women prostitutes living in supportive housing in Vancouver.

“We have our tenant-selection committee,” Ediger says. “There’s a screening process that needs to take place.”

Prospective residents of the Alouette Heights first need some form of income, either through social assistance or employment – 30 per cent of which they’d have to pay for rent to stay at Alouette Heights.

There also are rules against criminal activity or home businesses in the building.

Ediger said Alouette Heights isn’t intended to be permanent housing.

Staff who are screening residents will want to know where residents are and where they are going in the future.

Each tenant will develop an individualized support plan with their support worker on entry to the project.

“We plan to monitor it and make sure that does not become part of the Alouette Heights community.”

The legal issue, though, of sorting out of being able to control who does what inside their own apartment may be more difficult, says Ediger.

Visitors also will have to sign in and sign out of the building while doors will be locked after 10 p.m., requiring residents to be buzzed in by staff. In addition to a live-in caregiver there also will be a supportive housing coordinator, along with tenant support workers.

Ediger doesn’t think it will be a “huge problem” and said if people want to continue that lifestyle, they’ll be encouraged to leave.

Mayor Ernie Daykin can’t see prostitution taking place in the building.

The complex will be staffed 24/7 and there will be supports in place to ensure such activity doesn’t take place.

After people complete drug rehab programs, Daykin said he’s seen people fail many times, because of the lack of supportive housing as the final step to re-entering society.

“This has the potential to reduce the number of folks who are on our streets.”

Supportive housing is the fourth phase of housing, preceded first by homeless shelters and transitional housing, such as at the Salvation Army.

A landmark decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal will allow sex workers to legally work in safer indoor spaces starting next year. The court concluded that laws preventing sex workers from working together under one roof or hiring security staff fail to protect sex workers and exacerbate harms.

While the decision is not currently binding outside Ontario, if upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, the government will be forced to ensure the laws are brought in line with the evidence.

Link for study:

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation is hosting a trivia night fundraiser on Hit TV. (Special to The News)
Connie Werzun has taken up photography classes, and tok this picture along the dikes at Jerry Sulina Park one night recently. Using a seven-minute exposure, “a photo taken at night looks like it was taken during the day.” (Special to The News)
SHARE: Night photo of mountain range appears as day

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Raphael Baruh of Slavic Rolls creates one of his Eastern European desserts at the Maple Ridge food truck festival on Saturday afternoon. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Food Truck Festival in Maple Ridge this weekend

Pick the drive-through lane for the food you like at Albion Fair Grounds

Coyotes walk down a Maple Ridge residential street. (Special to The News)
Security camera shows coyotes walking down Maple Ridge street

A warning to Silver Valley residents to keep their pets indoors, says home owner

Coach Ray Wakeman and the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club are looking for new members. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge club looking for lawn bowlers

Games have been modified for safety during COVID-19

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read