Re: 'Controversial project to break ground' (Daily News, Oct. 2) I am disappointed to see the latest story by the Daily News in respect to Uplands housing project.
"Low-barrier" is a term that was originally applied to shelters and other emergency health services because some service providers refused to serve impaired individuals. Like the NRGH emergency ward, shelters and emergency services are essential and should not be denied to any individual.
The term "low-barrier" came into use to ensure that no one was refused emergency service who needed it. It is inappropriately applied to subsidized housing.
All rental housing, subsidized or market, has the same rules. Pay rent, behave appropriately, and don't damage the property. The only difference between subsidized and market housing is the cost. Rents in subsidized housing are geared to a person's income, and tenants receiving financial support from government are given only $375 for rent.
People living on a fixed income have problems maintaining their housing, not due to personal failing, but from government's failure to provide adequate affordable
housing. Many tenants at projects run by Nanaimo Affordable Housing would be living on the street without access to subsidized housing and many were living on the streets before moving in.
More than 90 per cent of people who are experiencing chronic housing issues have a permanent disability. There are approximately 500 apartments in Nanaimo that are affordable to persons living on provincial benefits while there are 4,000 individuals in Nanaimo who receive only $375 for rent. Why is it a surprise that we have a "problem?" Inappropriate language like "wet housing" and "low-barrier housing" has been used incorrectly by government and the media.
Individuals served by subsidized housing need to be treated with more respect and dignity and changing the way that we refer to those individuals and their homes would be an excellent start.
Executive Director Nanaimo Affordable Housing
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