MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) – Housing advocates and organizations are urging British Columbians to focus on “solutions and partnerships rather than discriminatory rhetoric,” amid tensions over a planned new temporary modular housing development in Maple Ridge.
The heads of several agencies, including Landlord BC and the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, have put out a statement aimed at opposition to the development, which is supposed to begin construction this month.
The project is meant for people experiencing homelessness.
“Homelessness touches every corner of our province, and each level of government has a role to play alongside community partners to ensure that all citizens are safely and affordably housed,” the statement reads.
It also point out supportive housing buildings show no direct correlation to increased crime, lowered property values, or safety issues compared to any other form of housing.
Housing support groups weigh in on #MapleRidge homeless dispute: “Language that is inflammatory and discriminatory contributes to an ongoing, negative stigma of people experiencing homelessness that distracts us from finding solutions.” #bcpoli #housing @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/Zl1qyU3RKD
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) April 26, 2019
The groups, which also include Homelessness Services Association of BC and the Urban Development Institute, say they applaud the province’s “significant” investments in housing since 2015, and add the funding has been put toward temporary and permanent solutions for those experiencing homelessness, families, seniors, Indigenous communities, women and children leaving violence, students, and middle-income earners.
“Focusing on solutions and partnerships rather than discriminatory rhetoric will help to ensure that all British Columbians have access to safe and affordable housing, regardless of which community they call home,” the groups say.
The provincial government’s plans to build modular housing in Maple Ridge has drawn some opposition from the community, as well as the city’s mayor.
Protests have been held in opposition to the project, as well as in support of it in recent weeks.
Mayor Mike Morden has called the ongoing back and forth between the city and the provincial government on the topic of housing a “battle of the wills,” adding he doesn’t like the position his community has been put in.
Morden has come under fire for some statements he made about homeless people in his community, but some people in his city have come out in support of him, saying his inflammatory comments are right on the money.
NEWS 1130 has reached out to the Mayor’s Office for comment.