In Ottawa Ontario Canada, the Salvation Army have just had approval from Ottawa’s City Council to move from their current location to 333 Montreal Road, in the Vanier area. The Salvation Army said that according to their research, they have many “clients” in the area, and as a result will be able to help more people than they can in their current location. They’re also going to put their money where their mouth is, spending fifty (50) million dollars for the new facility.
For some additional context to this, Vanier has a certain “reputation” in the city. Some buildings look run down, there’s questionable businesses like payday loans centres. The area has been described by many within the city as “sketchy”. As a result, residents of Ottawa (including those in Vanier proper) have voiced some concerns regarding the homeless shelter. During a conversation I recently had, they mentioned four concerns/comments regarding the building of the homeless shelter:
1) Concerns about “the population it brings” (ie; more homeless people migrating to Vanier).
2) Shelters “entrench” homelessness.
3) The quality of life in the area will go down.
4) Only through economics and revenue generation can we fight homelessness. Instead of spending fifty million on a shelter, the money should be used towards grants so people can startup businesses.
For the first point, I mentioned something in my last post about this, but I want to discuss it in more detail. Primarily because it’s personal; I was once homeless myself, and this first point and what it entails is something I know about.