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: http://www.cfenet.ubc.ca/publications/negotiating-safety-and-sexual-risk-reduction-with-clients-unsanctioned-safer-indoor-sex

Just Posted

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

Dwillies stepping down from Haney Farmers Market

Maple Ridge senior spends majority of life focused on food

MacDuff’s Call: Respecting Christ as part of Christmas

Tradition of helping people less fortunate is huge part of season.

Wrestlers rally to save Ramblers team

Loss of MRSS annex threatens successful program

Ryder helping others stay dry for holiday season

Raised more than $4,200 to purchase boots and winter gear for people living in poverty in Maple Ridge.

Ridge hospital foundation helps with mental health

Donates a possible $500k for youth wellness

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

Most Read