Are we a shelter city?

Editorial: Housing, homelessness and drug addiction are complex and devisive issues.

A suite at the Alouette Heights supportive housing complex.

Maple Ridge is asking staff to report on the Alouette Heights supportive housing complex and to see if Fraser Health’s harm-reduction program can be improved, the program that gives needles to addicts to reduce disease transmission. Staff also will report on drug-treatment centres in the city to see if they’re functioning as they should.

The reports, once completed, should provide some welcome, objective information that can only inform the debate about housing and homelessness in Maple Ridge.

Coun. Gordy Robson, who introduced the questions, says he’s not trying to blame anyone.

Fair enough. Most of Maple Ridge council feels the same way on most of the issues. The object of the exercise is to get the facts.

Once in, those facts will help inform debate about the issues.

However, the reports on all of the above, can’t get back to council and Maple Ridge residents soon enough.

Housing, homelessness and drug addiction are complex and devisive issues. So the more information Maple Ridge has as it begins the debate about the future permanent supportive housing facility for which BC Housing has said it will pay $15 million, and which now will take five years to build, the better. A similar complex, Alouette Heights, seems to be part of the solution at this point, rather than the problem.

What’s evident is that proverty and addiction  can’t be willed out of existence by refusing to recognise the issues and deal with them. Just ask the City of Abbotsford how that’s working out.

What’s needed is informed, public debate, based on real information, that will produce made-in-Maple Ridge solutions to tough problems.                     – The News

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