Your area could be next

Because the Agassiz Road supportive housing project is a very important subject to my neighbours and myself, I feel that we cannot just let it go.

When we sold our home and moved here to a condo lifestyle, it was because it is a nice safe neighbourhood. We are so close to shopping and medical facilities, which are very important. As we get older and are unable to drive, we still have easy access to everything we will need.

This project came to us as a big surprise. Once we were notified, all the plans were pretty much in place. When reading more of the information that came with the notice we saw where John Howard society was involved. Then we read that John Howard houses people with addictions to drugs and alcohol. People with criminal records and people with mental health issues. These are not the homeless or soon to be homeless people that we were thinking about.

We thought they would be housing the working poor. The people that would be living from pay cheque to pay cheque. The people who had run into hard times and could no longer afford to pay their rent. This would be a wonderful way to help them out until they got back on their feet again.

That was the first of the shockers. We quickly found out that BC housing had purchased that property for $1 million over assessed value. That folks is our tax money.

When we attended the public information session, we were informed that these people could use illegal drugs while living there and that they could live there forever if they choose. Their needles would be supplied and if one of them OD'd we would use more taxpayer money to revive them so they could go ahead and pump more illegal drugs into their veins the next day. There would be counselling available if they chose to go that route. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

Now, BC Housing and the City of Kelowna are talking about homeless shelters. This is where we are talking apples and oranges. The majority of people think of homeless as someone who has tried very hard but simply cannot afford to rent or own their own home. Then we have the street people. These are the people who were dealt a lemon and chose to use drugs and alcohol instead of helping themselves.

There is quite a difference. These are the people we do not want living next to us. We have read letters to the editors from a number of cities that do have these supportive houses. They are telling a very different story from what BC Housing, John Howard and city council are reporting. 

Your neighbourhood could be next.

Jeri Truman

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