I have dearly wanted to support this effort because I know how unique each story is from homelesspartners.com. However, my support has been tempered with my personal experience as an ex-business owner of a counselling school in downtown Victoria that was negatively affected by a nearby needle exchange. So, when I heard about the issues of parents and neighbours, I certainly considered their concerns with sympathy.
But my research has produced the following points:
• A 10-year study from Toronto documented that the neighbourhood surrounding supportive housing experienced a significant drop in crime — 27 per cent drop in dispatched calls, 32 per cent drop in sexual assaults, 11 per cent drop in other assaults and general decline in break-ins and theft.
• A B.C. study tracked seven supportive housing projects across the Lower Mainland, the Interior and Vancouver Island. In every case, the neighbourhoods objected. Five years later, sale prices in the nearby area increased as much as or more than in a control area.
• The complaints filed by neighbours of supportive housing show few calls made to police, and nearby school administrators in close proximity to existing supportive housing in Victoria have been extremely supportive.
My conclusion is that the Mount Edwards project is not a risk to students. The fears are understandable, but those fears have not been realized when similar projects have been executed.