Letter: Objection to Langley shelter is its location, not its clientele

Residents are concerned about the site but want to help the homeless, a letter writer says.

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to Cathy Wall’s letter. First of all, she misunderstood the majority of Willoughby residents’ concerns.

I also attended the public meeting on Oct. 30. From what I gathered most people in that meeting endorsed the idea to help the homeless. They thought a supportive housing for the homeless was a good idea.

What the majority of speakers said in the meeting was that the location for the proposed supportive housing project was problematic because of the following reason:

1. It was too close to elementary schools, family homes, day care centres, senior homes, and family-oriented businesses.

2. It was dangerous to mix drugs and alcohol. A BC liquor store was next door to the proposed supportive housing project.

3. With the low barrier and no sobriety model, tenants with drug addiction issues would be allowed to be active drug users.

Secondly, based on the data collected in 2017 Report on Homelessness in Metro Vancouver 53 per cent of the homeless population is addicted to drugs and 38 per cent suffer from mental illness. The majority of Willoughby residents have a very legitimate concern about this proposed location. They feel their young children are at risk of being hurt by the needles because the proposed supportive housing site was only five-minute walk from two elementary schools.

Why did Cathy Wall felt embarrassed and disappointed by what people portrayed in the meeting? The proposed location is problematic.

Finally, with a quick research on the Facebook, a local resident whose name is Cathy Wall is an employee of Fraser Health Authority. Cathy has an obligation to ensure that there is no conflict of interest, especially when speaking in the public media.

While the community is debating whether this proposed site is suitable or not, it is unethical to fuel up the negative emotions among the homelessness by telling them that the majority of Willoughby residents are refusing to provide them with housing.

Her misunderstanding of the majority of Willoughby residents, her biased opinion in her letter is going to harm the peace and democracy of this community.

After all, this is a democratic country. We can agree to disagree.

Victor Guo, Langley

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