My intent is not to dismiss the concerns raised by the people who are coping with an unhoused “encampment” near Danbrook Dog Park.
However, there are several sad parallels which came to mind while reading the article “Langford residents concerned about growing unhoused population.”
The first was this: dogs get a park, but people who have nowhere to live, end up on the street. I guess dogs get priority.
Secondly, some concerns raised by area residents could apply equally to those unhoused:
“…I feel safer here (City Hall) than I do in my own home.” Imagine how unsafe you might feel if you had no roof over your head, nor doors and windows to lock, no smoke alarms, no AC or heat, and no secure place to store all your worldly possessions.
“…see…, what people have to contend with.” Unhoused people coalesce because there are so few places they can, grouping for safety, although recognizing that some people might be a threat to others. While the late-hour situation is troublesome, some people who are in that encampment have to work the following day, with only a tent cloth between themselves and the other goings on.
“…(the homeowners) deserve better. We are all Langford residents.” Those who are living unhoused also deserve better. They might also be long-standing Langford residents. They may also be suffering from a disability, mental illness, or an addiction, for which they cannot access assistance, and without a permanent address possibly don’t qualify for MSP.
“…pass a bylaw against public drug use.” The housed can use whichever intoxicants they wish without being harassed by police. Where can unhoused people use drugs?
The problem is nationwide. The federal government has had no process for building social housing, for decades. When there isn’t enough to house everyone, we play musical chairs, and those most vulnerable are left without a chair.
The residents do have a point, living near an unhoused encampment is stressful and disruptive, and they should not have to shoulder that burden, but neither should people who are unable to acquire a place to live.