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Mayor, BC Housing say supportive housing on Dogwood will be safe, well-run

Too close to schools, concerns over a rise in property crime, and a lack of support.

Those are among the reasons behind an online petition against a supportive housing project in the city.

Through BC Housing, the province is partnering with the city to build 50 new homes at that location.

READ MORE: New permanent supportive homes coming to Campbell River

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The project will provide homes for people who will be living at the former Rose Bowl Restaurant bridge housing starting in August, as well as others experiencing homelessness.

Barry Campbell started the petition on change.org called ‘Citizens of Campbell River against 580 Dogwood becoming supportive housing for homeless.’

It cites a number of reasons why the project isn’t a good fit for the neighbourhood, including:

  • a school is located across the street and two more are within a two-kilometre radius;
  • concerns about property crime including petty theft and break-ins;
  • other properties are more suitable locations, which are closer to supports for people experiencing homeless;
  • A lack of support from neighbours;
  • How the facility will impact the property values of surrounding homes; and
  • public safety.

You can link to the petition here.

Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams says the city is listening to concerns and is trying to respond to them “as they come in, and the best we can.”

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Adams said because of COVID-19, neighbourhood meetings about the project will be held virtually later this month.

He added that the project will provide permanent homes for people who meet the eligibility requirements around income and service needs.

“This housing will assist seniors, people with disabilities, people who have employment but no housing, and all the residents in this facility (will) sign an agreement that outlines appropriate and respectful behaviour,” Adams added. “The building is staffed 24/7 to ensure that appropriate behaviour is maintained.”

The mayor stressed that supportive housing across the province provides a safe community both inside and outside each building.

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Adams also pointed out that there is a difference between supportive and affordable housing.

“Supportive housing is different in that it is a managed, 24/7 facility that has counselling services on-site to help those who want to help themselves, and that’s the difference from just having a place that’s more affordable. It has the support and services,” Adams said.

He says staff and residents will maintain the building on a daily basis.

Adams said the results from other communities that have similar BC Housing supportive housing facilities “have successfully been operating near schools, near daycares, and there has been no adverse impact on property values.”

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Heidi Hartman is BC Housing’s director of operations for the Vancouver Island region.

Hartman said BC Housing said information about the project has been sent out to neighbours who live roughly 300 metres from the site. 

She added that safety for the residents and neighbours is a key priority for BC Housing.

“By having that 24/7 presence, it’s really beneficial to the community as a whole,” she said.

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As for the alcohol and drug policy, Hartman said BC Housing uses a housing first and harm reduction model: “These are people’s homes. People may choose to use in their homes but the great thing about this is there are supports on-site.”

“We know if we put a roof over the heads of individuals that’s their opportunity to start thinking about, ‘What do I want to do? What changes do I want to make in my life to begin that road to wellness?’”

More information on the project can be found here

The project does not require rezoning and will be expedited through the development process in collaboration with the city.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall and residents will likely be moving in sometime in December.

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