EDITORIAL: Shelters not the ideal solution – for anyone

Politicians and policy makers continue to pay lip service to some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Not everyone is pleased with Surrey council’s decision to create a homeless shelter in Guildford.

The new 40-bed emergency shelter, approved by city council late last month, will be located in an existing two-storey building at 14716 104 Ave. It is to be “low barrier,” meaning those who are the most challenging to house – the city’s street-entrenched population – will be welcome there. It will be open 24/7 for six months of the year.

While the shelter will be situated right next to an RCMP station, critics – including Surrey Coun. Tom Gill – say the site is still all wrong, noting it is across the street from Hjorth Road Elementary School.

There are those too who argue Guildford has become (along with Newton) a convenient landing spot for the migrating social ills of Whalley – the open drug dealing and frightening street scenes moved along by efforts to revitalize City Centre.

Sixty-one per cent of The Leader’s readers who voted in a recent online poll oppose the location of this new homeless shelter.

But what is the alternative? Shelters are never welcomed with open arms, whether they set up shop in toney enclaves or take over warehouses in more industrial ’hoods.

Shelters are not the ideal solution for anyone – including the homeless. A place to bed down on a nightly basis in sometimes unsanitary, often unsafe conditions for a portion of the year is hardly a stable base from which to launch a rewarding life.

Yet minimum wage languishes at an inadequate $10.85 an hour in a region home to the highest costs of living in the country. Demand for so-called affordable housing is at an all-time high while vacancy rates remain crushingly low. Social assistance levels are stagnant and meaningful help for the mental ill and/or addicted is virtually non-existent.

Yet politicians and policy makers continue to pay lip service to some of the most pressing issues of our time.

In the absence of long-term remedies for chronic poverty, mental illness and substance abuse, stop-gap measures such as shelters may not be wanted, but are sorely needed.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Construction of Douglas College's Surrey Campus in 1970. (Photo: Douglas College Archives)
PHOTOS: Douglas College’s Surrey roots at a B.C.-first campus in 1970

The official date of the Douglas/Kwantlen split was April 1, 1981

B.C.’s parliament building, Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
ZYTARUK: Votes come at a premium price. Time to pay the tab

Promises are rained upon the voting public much like confetti being blasted from the maw of a cannon, or particles of ash spewn from an erupting volcano

Loretta Hibbs (right), founder and president of Surrey-based City Dream Centre, with Kelly Voros (foreground), the organization's executive administrator. (submitted photo)
‘Pumpkin patch’ brought to Surrey inner-city schools where COVID cancelled field trips

Work done by volunteers with Surrey-based City Dream Centre

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and staff by parents must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Most Read