Just sent these off:
To Bulletin May 16, 2011-05-16
The fact that so many people, on both sides of the supportive housing issue, took time to attend and speak at the 12 plus hours of public hearings illustrates a few things. People are passionate about their community and there has been a lack of open communication and accurate information, not totally attributable to city staff, about the issue of supportive social housing.
Much research has been presented by both sides of the debate, some blatantly false and some not even pertinent to what Nanaimo is doing. Many letters to the editor actually push the bounds of reality. Fact is no matter what your opinion you can find something on the internet to support it but as can be the case in this process the way the information is used leads too much of it being half truths.
What has been the worst is the downright nastiness and use of fear that has galvanized many. A simple question, how well do you really know your existing neighbours?
Threats and fear tactics are not conducive to a meaningful discussion and cloud the issue of housing to help the homeless. Discussion should have happened far earlier and perhaps to a large degree some of the vitriolic comments and innuendo could have been avoided.
To Daily News May 16, 2011
While I very much appreciate the Daily News attempts to clarify the issues I think it may actually have had the opposite effect.
We know, from local examples, that Warmlands in Duncan and the Balmoral in Nanaimo have helped alleviate preexisting problems in their respective areas. RCMP and school officials have sited no problems in Duncan and the RCMP in Nanaimo are in favour of supportive housing.
Up to 40 units will be built on Wesley St. and 36 to 40 are proposed for both Dufferin and Bowen Rd. sites. Numbers at these two sites are not set in stone and could be changed. There is also the potential to sell the Bowen Rd. site towards the purchase of other sites in the city.
While many spoke about smaller scale abstinence or treatment based housing the funding available is for the use of low barrier housing. Funding for these other types will be sought in the future.
Fear has been the weapon of many of those opposed; i.e. supportive housing will bring an influx of drug dealers and prostitutes to the area; there will be needles left all over the place and crime will increase. None of this is borne out by fact.
As stated by many, much of the problems they fear the supportive housing will bring are already in existence in the area as in most areas of the city. Will implementation of Supportive Social Housing eliminate the existing problems? I doubt it but I also doubt, as has been the case with both Warmlands and the Balmoral, they will contribute to more of the same.