Maple Ridge businesses oppose location of new homeless shelter
A temporary 40-bed shelter opens next month on 222nd and Lougheed Highway
Some Maple Ridge businesses are angry over the location of the new emergency shelter.The temporary emergency shelter, operated by RainCity Housing, will open it's doors on October 1st.
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"Put a permanent shelter that is not going to impact the downtown core that is already crumbling and falling apart," said said Robert Jeglum of CB Yard Services at a forum last night about the new shelter, "put something on the outskirts."
RainCity Housing says while a permanent shelter would be great, they need to take swift action to relocate the homeless residents of a camp that sprung up along Cliff Avenue last May, and this was the best location they could find.
Jeglum fears customers will be deterred from shopping in the area. He suspects theft, vandalism and drug use will rise because of the 40-bed temporary shelter that will be located in a former Sleep Shop building located on 222nd and Lougheed Highway.
But operators of the shelter say that won't be the case.
"The basic needs are met within that site, so the chances are the stability and quality of life is obviously going to improve," said Sean Spear, associate director of RainCity Housing,
Homelessness has been an ongoing issue in Maple Ridge.
Recently, Maple Ridge asked B.C. Housing to end a contract with the city's Salvation Army branch, claiming the current shelter did not provide adequate services for the city's burgeoning homeless population.
To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Maple Ridge business oppose location of homeless shelter with the CBC's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.