nimbyism

Across the street from my home is a hotel that has been converted into social housing. People in the neighbourhood have had their collective panties in a bunch since the plan was proposed, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better – the housing has been in operation for almost two years now, and every communication I receive from the neighbourhood speaks of the housing as though it’s the source of all evil in the world.

The truth of the matter is that crime and police incidents have dropped in the area since the housing opened. There have been far fewer random occurrences that require police intervention since the hotel was converted, but no one is paying attention to that – they’re too busy actively looking for ways to close the shelter down and put people back onto the streets in the name of “thinking of the children”. If they truly wanted to set a good example for the children, why not teach them that everyone deserves a home and that some people need help? People in the neighbourhood have been quoted in the news saying “we believe in social housing”, but it’s painfully obvious that their sentences end in “.. just not in our neighbourhood”.

According to the organization that runs the place across the street:

[The former Ramada Inn] is a 40-room transitional housing centre, operated in partnership with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society. These buildings have adopted a Whole Life Housing approach to wellness which features: affordable rent; assistance with addictions and medical issues; a breakfast and community kitchen program; housekeeping services; employment support; free laundry; and, an advanced pest control and room maintenance program.

Oh, the horrors. People living near us, learning how to become productive members of society. Recently, it was announced that the city is trying to make the housing a permanent thing instead of the temporary solution it was initially proposed to be. Naturally, people in the neighbourhood are panicking, thinking no doubt of how they will possibly explain the lower crime rates to their children. I’m really disgusted with most of my neighbours – who the hell are we to interfere with other people having a roof over their head? What makes your home so precarious that the thought of someone different than you living nearby puts it into actual peril? The people in the housing program have waited for months or years for the luxury of a stable home – they want to be there, they’re getting help to overcome their issues, and they want to be a part of the neighbourhood. Remind me again how that’s a bad thing?

The emails I’m getting from the neighbourhood association are just the best. In the last few weeks:

  • I received an invitation to the Community Block Party that excluded both our building and the social housing across the street, but we were given an exception and extended an invite
  • A neighbour had an incident with a housing resident. The last line of their email was a threat: “If I ever have another experience like this or hear of another neighbour who has,  I will immediately resign from the [community alliance] and will become a strong opposer instead of a supporter.”
  • Someone living in my building sent a list of all the times and dates that police, fire, or ambulance vehicles were at the hotel over the last six months, and demanded an explanation for each incident (holy fuck are you kidding me)
  • People are freaking the fuck out over the marijuana dispensaries, with emails like (everything [sic]): “I personally find it extraordinary that the Mayor thinks he can trump Federal law. And I am sick and disgusted over what the blocks of xxxx-xxxx East Hastings look like, and the businesses they support. Not only do we have at least two pot shops.. I refuse to call them dispensaries, but we have the Ramada social housing and we have the government office where social assistance cheques are picked up.” GASP! WON’T SOMEONE REFUSE TO THINK OF THE HUMANITY!
  • Everything the “community association” does is because “if we don’t do XYZ, the housing will become permanent”

Gross. Truly, horribly, gross. I don’t understand people at all. HOW can you be so against someone having basic human rights? For that matter, how can you be horrified that there are heavily regulated, no-minors-allowed weed stores in your area, but not give a rat’s ass that men are buying sex next door? People have gone on record saying they’re worried that the screened and monitored housing residents will include pedophiles looking to diddle their children – why aren’t they worried about the guys getting hand jobs instead? After all, the massage parlour closes at ten pm. What if someone come by at 10:30pm wanting a bbbj and ass-play only to find the parlour closed .. but little Jimmy and Susie are hanging out in the McDonald’s parking lot, and they got real purdy mouths? Why is no one concerned that someone going by the name “sex monster” is thinking about visiting the parlour and wants to know if the girls are any good? What if that person is truly a monster and goes all Godzilla on the precious neighbourhood? What if they’re Ed Gein? No, who cares about any of that – let’s instead threaten the people across the street who are simply trying to make a home for themselves. Makes perfect sense to me.

Do you want to know the biggest impact the housing across the street has had on me, personally?

It no longer makes sense that my wireless networks are called “Ramada Wireless” and “Ramada Guest Wi-Fi”.

That’s it. Oh, and no one threatens to snip my spine on a regular basis. It takes some getting used to.

NIMBYs, you are fucking disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

7 thoughts on “nimbyism

  1. I wish more people knew about Utah. In 2005 they figured that just giving people an apartment costs less than E.R. visits and jail stays ( and everything else surrounding those two things ). So they just started giving people homes. The homelessness rate in Utah has dropped by 78% since then, and they’re on track to having no homeless folks in the state within a few years. ( Source: http://nationswell.com/one-state-track-become-first-end-homelessness-2015/ )

    What really gets me about NIMBY-ism ( especially when it’s about trying to solve homelessness ) is that if people weren’t told that the Ramada had been turned into affordable housing they probably wouldn’t notice. If they were just told that it had been converted into apartments, nobody would bat an eye.

    The Lower Mainland has a serious problem. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. How about instead of ignoring and/or shaming folks who are having a tough time, maybe we help them out?

  2. As an architect, I see NIMBYism all the time in Edmonton. Currently, I’m working on a community library project which is being built on a site where a fire hall was demolished a few ago. At a recent info session for the neighbourhood, one of the residents complained that the dozens of new boulevard trees would drop leaves in his front yard, and demanded that the City be responsible for raking them. Sheesh.

  3. As someone who worked as an urban planner, this all hits a bit close to home. I hate that people seem so unable or unwilling to think of others, it’s gross and makes it hard to makes things better (and it’s already hard).

    I own a property in New Brunswick and got a letter from a neighbour a few years ago alerting me to a proposed social housing development (8 unit blg) in the area. They just assumed I would be outraged about it. I was so disgusted by the neighbour’s letter that I wrote the city and told them it was a great idea. If you’re so motivated you may consider doing the same – you might make some poor beleaguered planner’s day to get a non-nimby email.

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