January 15th, 2021

Supportive housing is the solution, not the problem


By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on December 11, 2020.

We need to reframe the conversation about supportive housing in this city.
It is the solution to the problem of homelessness and vagrancy, not the source of the problem. Somehow in recent debates about The Mustard Seed’s proposal to rezone the Ramada Hotel into a permanent supportive housing facility that fact has become muddled or shouted over by those simply saying, “Not in my back yard.”
What permanent supportive housing does is take those currently living on the street, or those living in our downtown parks, for example, and provides a place for them to go so they no longer have to live as vagrants in the community.
In these facilities those in recovery from long-term drug addiction, facing dire poverty which leaves them unable to advance in society, or suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or other long-term mental health or physical health issues will have a place to live where they can get the supports they need so they can, and this is the point here, stay off the streets and stop adding to the social disorder we currently face in our city.
People in Lethbridge continually state they feel unsafe, they don’t like crime and they don’t like vagrancy in the downtown or other areas of the city. The only solution to the problem is to get these people into housing which is able to support them as they seek a better life for themselves in our community.
While the location of such facilities is certainly up for debate, it is almost guaranteed wherever they open up someone will be unhappy. There is no place in the city that is not adjacent to a residential neighbourhood or near a school, church or other business. And there are no locations which can support this population’s needs outside of the city.
A hotel already located on a busy commercial strip in a high-density area which already supports a transient population most would agree is a far better option than a large residential building in the midst of a quiet local neighbourhood. But if that option is not even on the table there is nowhere these types of facilities could be established in the community – despite their ultimate benefit in helping to reduce vagrancy, crime and social disorder in Lethbridge.
Permanent supportive housing is not the source of the social disorder in our city, it is the solution to that social disorder which has already gone on for far too long.
Comment on this editorial online at https://www.lethbridgeherald.com/opinions/

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Dennis Bremner

Interesting position? So you feel that spreading out the drug addicts across town is a solution? And, please, do appreciate they are drug addicts. When you know what the success rate of rehab is, you will soon realize that at any one time out of the 84 beds at Ramada/Chinook will be housing probably 60-70 addicts. Addicts that have had a very brief taste of being without drugs. That time is not even sufficient to use the dismal failure rate this system already touts.
So, with a 1-3% success rate in rehab going the long route, you see a “solution” in the quickie proposed by Mustard Seed? One of the reasons Mustard Seed is describing conflict resolution etc in their job application is because the 3-4 people employed 24/7 at the Ramada will be required to toss anyone not adhering to sober. So again, even using the dismal numbers associated with a full rehab, that means that when the Ramada is loaded, that 3% of the addicts will stay dry, which means 97% will fail. Which also means that out of 84 beds, 2-3 people will stay dry, while the remaining 67 will consume drugs again. That means that 67 will have to be tossed, literally on a regular basis.
That means that even if you distribute this over a month, it means 2-3 people a day will break the rules and be tossed. Now, where do you think they will go? Henderson Lake? Swimming Pool? behind businesses on Mcgrath?
No one is arguing that a facility is needed like this, however it should be where the addicts ARE, not where they are NOT!
Of Course Mr Mustard Seed will argue that it should be away from practicing addicts? To which I ask why? If he is as sure as he pretended to be at the Council Meeting that they can “smell drugs coming in and stop them at the door” and ” they can deal with clients who use in their facility” then whats the problem?
I will tell you what the problem is, Mr Mustard Seed compares the sober site in Lethbridge to his existing one in Calgary, yet the Calgary facility is downtown and more than 10 city blocks from Schools, kids recreational areas (pool) and Neighborhoods. So why is Mr Mustard Seed trying to con Lethbridge into thinking this will be as successful as Calgary. Easy Answer, Trudeau is handing out $1billion to house Homeless people and is encouraging the purchase of Hotels etc. So Mr Mustard Seed sees this as a win-win, he owns “free of charge” the Ramada, and then pays no taxes to the community because Mr Mustard Seed is a Tax Exempt Charity. Which as you know, so was Bourgue $343,000 paycheck) and the SCS.
Mr Mustard Seed says that the property will be 100% secure that they will ensure there are no addicts laying around his property. So, what about Starbucks, do they get a Mr Mustard Seed Patrol? Ford Dealership?
There is so many holes in this application its almost laughable, but he does do an excellent job of covering up the obvious failings with Bullsh*t. He stated that Mustard Seed is a wonderful neighbor and everyone loves him, perhaps he might want to check out the Mustard Seed Street Church and the people that say he has killed business and real estate prices in their area? So his “we will deal with problems ASAP is a hollow comment in light the Church has been there for over a decade! Once the application is approved, the ZOO will begin! I also have complete faith this Council and Mayor will once again (SCS) think they are wise people and sign off on this as if its a no brainer!
https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/mustard-seed-neighbours-say-campers-and-their-trash-are-driving-away-customers-1.24151723
https://rdnewsnow.com/2018/08/27/riverside-meadows-residents-fed-up-with-illegal-park-activities/
But, I do notice the Lethbridge Herald was able to take a stab in the dark without research and come to the conclusion ” that this somehow is not a bad idea”? Where did Research in Journalism go?

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis Bremner
Concerned Lakeview

It will be a Permanent Supportive Housing facility for different sub-groups in Lethbridge’s homeless community.
A cause of confusion was that the Mustards Seeds Power Point outlined both the Permanent Supportive Housing facility and the Sober 24/7 shelter to be put in Lethbridge but did not identify that they would be in separate locations. The possible location(s) for the Sober 24/7 shelter has not been released by the Mustard Seed yet.

The risks of the Permanent Supportive Housing facility is still a risk as the occupancy is 160 people and….

The City of Lethbridge’s 2019-2025 Municipal Housing Strategy: Lethbridge Housing Needs Assessment document outlines the issues our city is facing.  https://www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/Our-Community/Documents/Lethbridge%20MHS%20Needs%20Assessment%20Feb%2022%202019.pdf
A quote on Page 11 of the document (p 14/110):
“A business case report for a proposed supportive housing facility found the sub-groups in highest need for supportive housing in the shelter system were:
1.)    Individuals with substance abuse issues
2.)    Individuals with high recidivism*
3.)    Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, mental health, and/ or medical conditions
4.)    Individuals who have been exposed to trauma “
*Recidivism is defined as the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend.
We feel that the combination of the sub-groups identified in the City of Lethbridge’s own Needs Assessment and the high building occupancy of the proposed Ramada and Chinook Motel site poses a significant risk to the surrounding area (4 schools).

Concerned Lakeview

Again, the petition is NOT about stopping additional supportive housing options for vulnerable people such as the homeless. It IS about showcasing why the Ramada Hotel and Chinook Motel property is a poor location. Just because we don’t support the rezoning of the Ramada does not mean that we are opposed to the Mustard Seed finding another location in the city. This is an important distinction and not for the sake of “being NIMBY”.
The Ramada Hotel and Chinook Motel are not considered to be a suitable location for the Mustard Seed’s Permanent Supportive Housing facility because of close proximity to multiple schools and other childcare facilities, its building density (high occupancy permit allows up to 160 people) and the associated risks in the Lakeview area of an increase in property crime, safety concerns and decrease in property values. To say “There is no place in the city that is not adjacent to a residential neighbourhood or near a school, church or other business”. You are ignoring the facts and position of the petition.
Our Lakeview community group was recently informed that the maximum occupancy specified on the re-zoning application is 160 people for the 86 units between the Chinook Motel and Ramada hotel buildings. Visitors will be welcome by appointment and must follow the rules while in the Mustard Seed facility.
The City of Lethbridge’s 2019-2025 Municipal Housing Strategy: Lethbridge Housing Needs Assessment document outlines the issues our city is facing.  https://www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/Our-Community/Documents/Lethbridge%20MHS%20Needs%20Assessment%20Feb%2022%202019.pdf
A quote on Page 11 of the document (p 14/110):
“A business case report for a proposed supportive housing facility found the sub-groups in highest need for supportive housing in the shelter system were:
1.)    Individuals with substance abuse issues
2.)    Individuals with high recidivism*
3.)    Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, mental health, and/ or medical conditions
4.)    Individuals who have been exposed to trauma “
*Recidivism is defined as the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend.
We feel that the combination of the sub-groups identified in the City of Lethbridge’s own Needs Assessment and the high building occupancy of the proposed Ramada and Chinook Motel site poses a significant risk to the surrounding area.

THIS IS LOCATED WITHIN 2-3 BLOCKS OF THREE SCHOOLS AND ONE PRE-SCHOOL!

I AM SURE THE MUSTARD SEED HAS A PLAN B. THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT DECISION!

https://www.change.org/p/lethbridge-mayor-vote-no-to-the-rezoning-of-the-lethbridge-ramada-hotel-and-chinook-motel-on-mayor-magrath

Southern Albertan

Again, sadly, in the biggest of pictures, what creates a society with less poverty, less crime, less drug abuse, less homelessness, less poor nutrition, less ill health, lack of education, lack of employment….is a concerted effort to take capitalist wealth and create a more equal society by doing decent equal wealth distribution. This is done, for example, by doing a hand up to provide good education and health care which can beget good nutrition and health, a roof over one’s head, good employment, infrastructure that benefits everyone….
This is why, in particular, there should, not, be cutbacks to education and health care. Countries who do good equal wealth distribution, know, that it benefits their economy by having all professions at the top of the global heap, and, they have less poverty-related crime/issues to boot.
For years, we have had both, federal and provincial governments, who do not seem to understand this. It’s such a shame because now, here, there is the quibbling of where, and what to do, with the folks who need the help which could have been offset for many of them by having a proactive, progressive society right from birth on. Since money talks, would it ever be realized that poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, ill health, etc. is expensive in the end?

Concerned Lakeview

Your comment and this article are trying to make this bigger than it is! The simple fact, the proposed location for the Permanent Supportive Housing Facility has serious concerns which are valid. Its easy for you to shake your finger at everyone else when this does not affect you, your kids, your grandparents, your neighborhood, your schools or your business.
The Lethbridge Housing Needs Assessment document clearly outlines what type of sub-groups require supportive housing “Individuals with high recidivism” to name one. The occupancy of 160 (less staff) people combined with the 4 schools within 2-3 blocks makes this to dangerous to approve.
Do your research, The Mustard Seed has never operated a Permanent Supportive Housing Facility this large in a residential single family neighborhood with 4 schools within 2-3 blocks.
The Rapid Relief Funding is not contingent on the Ramada re-zoning being approved. Better options exist and I am sure The Mustard Seed has other plans if this rezoning is denied.

Everything you argue in your post can still be achieved!

ksnideman

To allow this homeless shelter to set up in the Ramada location would be one, if not THE most irresponsible moves of this city council yet. First and foremost, there are 2 elementary schools & 1 middle school within a few blocks of this place. Sit at the intersection at 12 Ave S & Mayor Magrath Drive (mere steps from the Ramada) and you will see dozens of kids each morning & afternoon make their way to & from school on foot and/or on their bikes. Then you have the Henderson Lake park recreational area just a couple blocks north. Not to forget also the dozens of locally owned & run businesses that line that area of Mayor Magrath Drive. You are literally throwing a fox into a henhouse with this location. It is time that the hardworking, taxpaying, law abiding citizens of this city are heard and respected. I feel the safety of our community is being threatened once again by the interests of a few. It’s truly frustrating.

Concerned Lakeview

It is not a Homeless Shelter. It is a Permanent Supportive Housing Facility at the Ramada.
Please read the Petition and the update at the bottom!
https://www.change.org/p/lethbridge-mayor-vote-no-to-the-rezoning-of-the-lethbridge-ramada-hotel-and-chinook-motel-on-mayor-magrath

Citi Zen

I am less concerned about the residents than those losers that come to the vicinity looking for their friends/partners. They are the ones that bring with them the drugs, crime and vagrancy. Even though they may noy be permitted entry to the facility, they will still camp out in the nearby parks snd streets. And the police clearly cannot control that demographic.

Seth Anthony

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Seth Anthony

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Fescue

Seth, you are only coming through in waves. Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.

Seth Anthony

Those were tests posts as I was having issues with the edit and other post functions. It was becoming annoying to the point of mind numbing.

Seth Anthony

Was that lyric acknowledgement too subtle?



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