if the acronym fits

Two years ago, I wrote about the collectively bunched panties of the people in my neighbourhood regarding the social housing in the area. A new facility is being built, and people are freaking the fuck out – “NOT IN MY BACKYARD!!!” they’re literally screaming, then turn around and are SUPER OFFENDED when someone says they’re going all NIMBY. It’s hilarious to watch, if only because it’s fucking disgusting and I want to burn them all to the ground. Figuratively, that is. I do not condone the burning of selfish assholes who are more concerned about their property values – in Vancouver, where the average stand-alone house is worth close to 2 million – than human lives.

So, the new situation: a house was purchased a few blocks over, and is being converted into a small halfway house for teens. It’ll be staffed 24/7, and house no more than 5 patients at a time. The ages range from 16 – 18, and all residents have been through detox and rehab – it is a literal halfway house, to help them readjust to normal life. Residents cannot leave the property unless they are accompanied by a staff member.

Here are some comments from the petition (of course) that went up to protest the facility (everything is [sic]):

This city staff have approved many site or addiction house around our area with out resident agrees. This city staffs stripped our human rights “freedom of choice”,who we can live with; mental illness people? Drug users? Drug dealers around? It is time to let all of these residents stand up , we want our Human Right back ! We want freedom of choice! We want this city staff know what residents want!

My niece lives in this area and should not be subjected to such sites on a daily basis. Horrendous idea.

We want a safe neighborhood for our kids. No more drug/mental health related facilities please!

And here’s what’s been going on behind the scenes in the community email thread. The bolded comments are just the best:

The children in our home area are too heavily weighted with these “social problems” I think the city should spread the issue around the city. These addicted kids should be in an area that is more isolated, not near transport, pot stores, and temptations. A more nature filled location where they can hike, exercise, focus and learn how to behave in a “normal society: anger management, deep psychological help.

The city is just bullying our neighbourhood, they got away the homeless shelter despite massive response against,now we have begging at all the intersections, begging outside the shops, petty crime but they assured us that all would be well.  then park the next outcry and many against, they just went ahead, . I used to see many little ones with their families at the jungle jim play set at <name> park on hot days and evenings, now it is virtually abandoned, it is 40 ft from the front door of a mental health/addiction facility. What mother is going to take her kids to play there?

I am completely opposed to the use of <address> as facility for recovering youth addicts. There are many reasons including;

  •  The wrong zoning,
  • Lack of proper public notification
  • A neighbourhood already forced to deal with very large shelters and the issues they bring (and they do)
  • Proximity to an elementary school

There are even more reasons but please do not call NIMBYISM one of them. I take great offence when this term is thrown around when we are trying to have a rational discussion on this issue.

But of course it is so easy to call us NIMBY’s as a red herring to steer the conversation away from the real issue – pathetic public consultation.

BTW, <name> Liquor Store is opening up on the <address>, in the <name> condo.  In the same block, you have a massage parlour, two marijuana dispensaries and a liquor store.  One can smoke pot, have sex, and drink booze all in a one block area.  What’s our neighbourhood becoming?  We need a clean and safe neighbourhood!

I too spoke to <name> at the CoV.  Poor woman.  Fielding lots of calls.

I told her there are lots of families that would love to live in such a nice house! Would the CofV considering buying them one, too?

I told her if I was a neighbour and this happened?  I would be so pissed off.

It doesn’t improve OUR neighbourhood or land value, or provide our kids with other kids to play with.. Or babysitters to help around the ‘hood.  

BUt the really really important thing?  It is across the alley from the <housing>… a no barrier, low income (no income but assistance) housing project.  The dope can be tossed over the fence.  This is NOT the place for this house.

Find a farm. 

I absolutely Do Not agree with the statement that we are acting NIMBY and take offence to that.

I think this neighbourhood is doing it’s fair share to “give back” to the community.

Please let’s stop concentrating it this way and spread these facilities across Vancouver in a more thoughtful manner, if you truly believe that “It takes a village”.

Such beautiful sentiments. Such an incredible display of humanity. Definitely not NIMBYism, how dare you call it that? I simply want the filthy undesirables to not be in my back yard, is all. Is that too much to ask? What about my HUMAN RIGHT? Won’t somebody think of the children? But not those children. I mean MY children. The good ones.

Put all the bad ones on a farm, where I don’t have to look at them. Or think about them. Until I or someone I love needs help, at which point I will scream about the lack of services and housing.

Fuck these people. I’m so disgusted with humanity right now, and it’s not even 10 am.

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.