Well-managed affordable housing will be an asset to Creston

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To the Editor:

(Re: “Land beside Millennium Park not suitable for affordable housing complex”)

Mr. Reider refers to a “group of well intentioned individuals” whom he then suggests have not looked at the site, and he believes will produce a slum-like ghetto that will negatively affect the ambience of the neighbourhood and the well-being of the potential occupants.

Does Mr. Reider know the level of professional competence of this group? Does he think that the funding bodies would not be concerned with the issues he raises? This “well intentioned group” has been working on an affordable family housing proposal for at least five years. Of course they have seen the site. Of course they have considered the sensibilities of the neighbours and the community at large. Of course there will be a geotechnical survey, as well as a preliminary test of the ground having already been done. Of course the well being of the potential tenants has been taken into account.

The concerns expressed about the slum aspect of the proposal really refers to how well managed these homes will be. Of course, that has been built into the proposal, as has the concern about the criteria for occupancy by suitable tenants. It is unfortunate that Mr. Reider lives near a building that obviously is not well managed and did not carefully screen its tenants. But that being said, when we have no affordable family housing for those families who are not well enough off to be able to afford market rents, then they must go somewhere. Isn’t it better to have well designed, attractive, well-managed neighbourhood homes occupied by those who truly need them than to have those who are disadvantaged having to take the worst of the rental accommodations available? The attractiveness of the architectural design, complete with parking for all the units, will enhance not detract from the beauty of the park.

When I was young, poor and a single parent, I was fortunate enough to be able to get accommodation in a large, subsidized housing project, which absolutely saved my bacon. Along with a number of other families in similar situations, we all benefited hugely from this affordable housing. Our kids were able to participate in sports, arts, cultural activities, summer camp and all the good things that having disposable income allows. Our kids were not discriminated against or bullied because they came from affordable family homes. On the other hand, there were kids who got into trouble, had dysfunctional parents who couldn’t properly care for them, did not do well in school, et cetera. These were kids from all strata of the economic spectrum including, but not always, well off families.

The concerns raised by Mr. Reider are issues that the community will be interested in and concerned about and rightly so. What is needed, however, is the other side of the story and to have the correct information about this proposal. No one is planning to build an instant slum that will harm our community. Why not get the full picture first and then sort out what is a genuine concern and what is an incorrect assumption? I hope there will be more interest and more information to round out this story.

Rita Scott