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Homeless policies wreaking havoc on communities

Free housing, drugs making matters worse for those living in those neighbourhoods
Security checks in at the Fuller Lake Arena parking lot homeless tenting site, a stopgap measure during COVID. (Photo by Don Bodger)

There’s a revolution of sorts taking place among tax-paying, law-abiding residents who are sick and tired of the degradation of our neighbourhoods by primarily drug-addicted homeless people.

Letters to the editors in community papers and Facebook posts are becoming more frequent, calling on local, provincial and federal governments to finally get serious about solving the problem.

So far, it’s been nothing but band-aid solutions that even prompted Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps to admit the scenarios that have unfolded in her community to allow campers to stay in places like Beacon Hill Park aren’t working.

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The most popular answer to date had been directing BC Housing to throw millions at buying up abandoned hotels and other sites and even converting facilities that would still be better suited for more practical purposes than housing the homeless.

The result has been chaos. These buildings full of homeless folks have been inundated with criminal activity that’s spread throughout the neighbourhoods where they’re situated.

People don’t want to be fearful of the pleasant places where they used to live, but that’s what’s happening in communities large and small just about everywhere these days.

Far too much time has elapsed without any action being taken and that’s why we now find ourselves in such a big mess trying to deal with the problem.

It’s really back to Square One, in a sense. Simply spending money on buildings and giving the homeless free drugs and free just about everything doesn’t help anyone.

The police can only do so much. The criminal justice system doesn’t have the answers, either, with weak penalties and quick release no matter what the offense.

We need a comprehensive plan that starts with full rehabilitation and integration of the homeless into society. Essentially, they need guidance and help to learn to fend for themselves.. That’s going to take money and programs, but better spent than what’s going on now.

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Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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