News Views: Just for now

To be fair, no one is going to rid Maple Ridge of its homeless population in six months.

The city, with help from a service provider, will run a temporary homeless shelter in downtown Maple Ridge.

For now.

That is what those who attended an open house for the new downtown shelter on Thursday were told.

A number of other service providers will work with RainCity Housing to help those staying at the shelter get the help they need, such as for addictions and mental health issues.

The shelter is to close after six months.

Then what?

RainCity doesn’t just run emergency housing projects. It also runs long-term, supportive and transitional housing projects, as well as one just for homeless women.

Nothing about RainCity is temporary.

And, to be fair, no one is going to rid Maple Ridge of its homeless population in six months.

More ongoing support will be needed.

It just hasn’t been decided what or where, or discussed publicly, yet.

Clearly, those who attended the open house wouldn’t want permanent supportive services for the homeless in the downtown area. They are concerned about shopping carts, needles and condoms, and rightly so. The downtown isn’t what it used to be and those who reside there deserve a chance to see it cleaned up, for peace of mind and for businesses to have a chance to thrive.

In Coquitlam, RainCity will be the operator of a permanent shelter with 90 beds for the homeless. It is to open in December and offer meals, counseling, life skills development, and connections to community health and wellness services. It is located on a desolate road, beside the train tracks, on what was a treed area owned by the city. It’s not far from area businesses, but it is not in their collective face.

Again, there are no plans for such a housing project in Maple Ridge, that we know of.

But something more will be needed here once the temporary shelter closes.

Local residents might want to be consulted about that.

– The News