I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

In the Opinion of the Writer

My neighbours are up in arms and furious with the City of Kamloops. Why?

The City is proposing to rezone six properties within the city as affordable housing. If you haven't heard about this, I've provided a link to an article in the Kamloops Daily News below.

The City is holding a public hearing on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm at Kamloops Convention Centre, Ballroom "C" (1250 Rogers Way) on this issue.

One of the lots proposed for rezoning is in my neighbourhood. My acquaintances say publicly that many people use this site, 697 Cowan, as a recreational area. Well - maybe. I've never seen anyone use it as anything but an area to walk their dogs - and judging from my shoes, leave their dog's shit in.

However, I have been told privately, and most emphatically, that social housing for low income people drives down property values and drives up crime. And that surely I don't want "those " people living in my neighbourhood!

Firstly, crime rates do not increase in the areas where social housing is built. That is a myth - an outworn, hoary, fallacious myth.
Affordable housing can help a community maintain a stable population by making it easier to retain people who already live and work there. In fact, a Denver study shows that "…there was no statistically significant evidence that supportive housing development led to increased rates of reported violent, property, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct or total crimes. These findings were equally true of supportive housing for perceived "dangerous clientele" ex-offenders, people with mental illness and recovering substance abusers." Source: "Impact of supportive housing on local crime rates" - HUD, Urban Institute, Wayne State University - 2002 http://www.cagh.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=30&Itemid=84

Neither do property values decrease.

 Studies have shown that housing developments which are well-designed do not have a negative effect on neighbouring property values. In fact, some developments may actually increase property values." (Source: "Impact of Non-Market Housing on Property Values" - BC Government - Feb. 2000 -http://www.housing.gov.bc.ca/housing/00_Jan_PropVal.http://www.cagh.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=30&Itemid=84

So , actually, I do want "those " people living in my neighbourhood. They will not have a negative impact on my neighbourhood in any way. They will probably enrich it - by open-midedness if nothing else.  And most importantly, I want an equitable and just society where the inherent worth and dignity of every person is recognized. I want everyone to have a home. And, most fervently,  I wish my neighbours would start seeing through the eyes of loving kindness rather than fear. If you support this rezoning project, please send the mayor and council an email telling them so. Better yet, go to the rezoning hearing and tell them in person.  I've listed email addresses below for your convenience.










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