Many homeless people would rather continue camping out than move into housing. (Photo by Don Bodger)

OPINION: Homeless housing comes with a price

Public risk outweighs any short-term benefits, real problem overlooked

BC Housing is spending money like it’s going out of style, but without taking into account some very important factors.

So-called affordable or low income housing is one thing, but the millions of dollars that’s being allocated to purchase former motels or abandoned buildings to accommodate the homeless around the province is already running into problems.

No consideration is being given to the public.

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One particular establishment in Victoria has already been found to contain several weapons and, of course, needles and drug paraphernalia that go with the territory. The safety of the public in the neighbourhood is at risk and people are fed up.

This over-the-top pampering treatment of the homeless is not going to resolve the issue.

First of all, many homeless people actually do not want to go into housing. Crazy as it seems, this is the life several are used to leading and they have no intention of taking what seems like a sweet offer.

The other thing is housing the homeless in one building is a recipe for disaster because of their lifestyles. They don’t suddenly move in, put their feet on the couch and live a normal existence.

Many among the homeless can’t fend for themselves. They have serious mental health issues, the large majority from extensive drug use, and that requires a lot more help than just putting a roof over their heads.

The recent call by police officials and medical professionals for certain drugs to be legalized isn’t helping the cause. The widespread garbage and discarded needles from the homeless are already bad enough. The last thing all the law-abiding tax-paying citizens of our communities need is seeing people shooting up all over the place and making even more of a mess.

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The answer is to keep opioid use illegal. But instead of sending convicted persons to jail, their sentence would be going to a rehab facility to get off drugs once and for all.

Only then can they become more prosperous members of society, but not through legalization or providing a safe supply which isn’t really that safe because drugs are drugs and damaging to humans regardless.

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