[Hpn] Homeless shelter plan held up by residents

wtinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Mon, 1 Jul 2002 07:24:37 -0400


Homeless shelter plan held up by residents
July 1, 2002
Oakville group fears problems with drugs, crime
By Mike Funston
PEEL/HALTON BUREAU
Residents of an Oakville neighbourhood are trying to block a bid by the
Salvation Army to build the town's first permanent emergency 40-bed shelter
for the homeless.
The Iroquois Ridge Residents' Association opposes the rezoning application,
filed on June 11, because of concerns that it could bring people with
criminal records and drug, alcohol and mental problems to the quiet
neighbourhood of single-family homes.
"Besides the obvious danger to the residents and the impact on housing
prices, it won't suit the needs of the homeless," said resident Tammy
Mulligan.
The site, located on Eighth Line south of Dundas St., on a former hydro
corridor in the northeast end of town, is a poor choice from the standpoint
of public transportation and access to employment and medical care, Mulligan
said. It's also near Iroquois Ridge Secondary School and a community centre.
The association held a meeting June 17 to inform residents about the plan.
The Salvation Army was invited, but protests from the crowd of 200 prevented
representatives from completing their briefing.
A public meeting organized by Halton Region, which supports the application,
has been postponed until the fall to allow regional and Salvation Army
officials more time to educate residents about the proposal, which Maj. Ray
Braddock says they will press ahead with.
"We will pursue this project to our utmost ability. It's something we have
been working on for 3 1/2 years now," he said. "We have a good plan in
place."
Braddock said there is a misconception among some residents that the
generally prosperous community doesn't have a homelessness problem.
The shelter would be intended for people in crisis situations who've been
left homeless because of a job loss or marriage or family breakdown, he
said.
"We also need something for youths. We don't want them out on the street or
heading to Toronto."
The shelter, which will house people for between 30 and 90 days, will also
offer counselling, and life- and job-skills training. The proposed
development will also include a non-profit housing building with an
unspecified number of rent-geared-to-income units.
"I'm not sure this is the best location for an institution of that size,"
said Oakville Councillor Janice Wright, who represents Iroquois Ridge.
"It wasn't their (Salvation Army's) ideal location. They had wanted
something closer to the GO station."
But putting it next to a school and community centre would allow families to
use those facilities, Wright said.
She agreed with Braddock that many residents don't believe there is a
homelessness problem in Oakville and so are concerned that the shelter will
attract transients from Toronto or Hamilton.
"The communication (from Halton and the Salvation Army) could have been
better. I can understand why the residents have those fears," Wright said.



Legal Notice:- Copyright 1996-2002. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All
rights reserved. www.thestar.com