Protesters set up a camp at the Royal Crescent site. (THE NEWS/files)

News Views: No barriers

Stalling the existing proposals only prevents those who need help from getting it.

The provincial government, along with B.C. Housing and the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation sought an injunction to clear protesters occupying the site for temporary modular housing in Maple Ridge.

They left before that was necessary, but not before making their point. Protesters, many from the Burnett Street group – which opposes supportive housing plans for that neighbourhood – want more consultation on the Royal Crescent site.

The province has consulted with the community on modular housing. It did not seek zoning from the city or approval to put temporary modular housing on Royal Crescent, nor is it required to.

The province intends to move forward with the temporary modular housing on Royal Crescent, prepping the site to have the project open in time for next fall, and to consult further with the city about permanent use of the site.

A 2007 report, by the Centre of Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction at Simon Fraser University and others, found overwhelming evidence across North America that providing housing is the best option for helping the growing number of those with concurrent disorders – severe addictions and/or mental illness (SAMI).

It also found that the low-barrier model is key to that housing.

The Homelessness Research Network and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, as well as the Centre of Applied Research report found it is far cheaper to give the homeless a place to live than provide a patchwork of emergency services.

B.C. Housing picked downtown locations, close to services, which is supposed to further enhance success rates.

But nobody wants such facilities next to them.

Where should they go?

Two previous locations along Lougheed Highway were rejected after protests.

Stalling the existing proposals only prevents those who need help from getting it.

People continue to die on our streets.

The community continues to be at odds.

The federal strategy is called Housing First.

We need to remove barriers.

– Maple Ridge-PittMeadows News

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