Letters to the Editor

Supportive housing helps less fortunate

To the Editor,

I am a registered nurse who works all over the Nanaimo hospital and in maternity and pediatrics in Duncan.

Reading all the letters regarding the subsidized housing location in the north end has been interesting. However, I want to point out a few issues I haven’t seen mentioned.

To those opposed to having “that sort” of people around their elders and children, I would say: do you realize where these people end up when they can’t be housed and are ill, detoxing, and wounded?

They end up next to your elders, your children and maybe you, in a bed in a hospital room only separated from you and your loved ones by a small curtain.

People who are suffering from mental illness and drug/alcohol addiction issues and their children are in all areas of your hospitals.

Sometimes people just can’t cope with living in a hotel room or on the street and they end up either in jail or in the hospital. Do you realize how much this costs the taxpayer? At $1,500-$3,000 a day, this is an expensive way to house people.

All the research shows that ‘housing first’ gives people a foundation to improve their lives from. There is also a strong possibility some of the potential residents of these units may return to their home neighbourhoods in the north end.

When homeless counts are down downtown, it turns out the majority of our less fortunate citizens are actually from all over Nanaimo, not from somewhere else.

Drugs and alcohol are available in every neighbourhood if you know where to look, but if you are a person in recovery, maybe it would be better for you to live somewhere away from the more conspicuous use that goes on in some other neighbourhoods.

Give people a chance.

Finally, as a single mother of two, I want to extend a huge thank you to B.C. Housing, without which I would have found it incredibly difficult to complete my nursing training, as I lived in low-income housing throughout the duration of my degree program.

Although I have no drug and alcohol issues,  living there drove home to me that everyone may need support sometime.

Thanks to supportive housing, I will be there to help when you, and our less fortunate citizens next to you, need it. Where will you be?

Heather Shaw

Nanaimo

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