We live in Gibsons, three blocks from the proposed housing development for homeless people at the corner of School Road and O’Shea Road. We’re 100 per cent in favour. Many other towns and cities across the world have discovered the astonishingly simple truth – people who have a place to live can move forward with other challenges, including health problems, employment and finding meaning in their lives. A study by social scientists at the University of Calgary (Google “Housing First Report”) showed that a Housing First approach is effective, and ends up reducing the overall costs to society, including health, policing and other costs. The choice is simple: housing homeless people and allowing them to move forward; or leaving them homeless and unable to move forward. The former path is more compassionate, more effective, and cheaper.
Each homeless person is a human being with strengths, weaknesses, skills, and challenges. Providing a home will allow them to begin to deal with their weaknesses and challenges, allow their strengths to emerge, and become valuable members of our community as they apply their skills. We know this is true. We’ve seen it happen to two people for whom we provided a home when they didn’t have one – they both healed and then blossomed. Let’s show that we’re a compassionate community.
David Marmorek and Betty Bronson, Gibsons