Why some New Westminster moms don’t want a project housing homeless women in their ‘hood

Click to play video: 'New Westminster residents opposed to modular housing' New Westminster residents opposed to modular housing
Residents of a New Westminster neighbourhood are the latest to voice their opposition to temporary modular housing for the homeless in their area. Sonia Deol reports – May 1, 2018

The City of New Westminster is looking to locate a modular housing project for homeless women and women at risk of homelessness at 838 Ewen Avenue in the Queensborough area.

Like other projects of its kind, it too is drawing backlash from people in the community.

This time, resistance to the project is coming from a Facebook group for moms in the area.

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Reaction against the project has been swift in the “Port Royal Moms Group,” which aims to keep Queensborough mothers connected.

The city-owned site is located near the Queensborough Community Centre, and the Queensborough Middle School.

The project is expected to have 40 units and round-the-clock support for residents. But that seemingly wasn’t enough for members of the Facebook group.

READ MORE: ‘Maybe they have a drug problem’: Richmond residents weigh in on housing for homeless

“This is where our children play and go to school. This is not an appropriate site for a project like this,” said one comment.

“We just don’t have the resources to support people with or coming out of drug addiction, mental illness,” said another.

“There is a school right here and our property prices will plummet,” said yet another comment.

No one from the group that Global News approached wanted to go on camera.

But it wasn’t difficult to find other nearby residents who were worried about the project.

“I hope they will have enough resources available for them,” said one resident.

“It’s a good thing to have homes available for homeless people but it’s also very important to take care of the community.”

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READ MORE: When Marpole modular housing tenants move in, care packages will be waiting for them

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote said that about 30 per cent of the city’s homeless population are women, so that “definitely is the target population” with this project.

An open house on the project was scheduled for Tuesday night at the Queensborough Community Centre.

One politician said it’s important to listen to any concerns that nearby residents may have.

“They do have legitimate concerns,” said Richmond-Queensborough MLA Jas Johal.

“I hope tonight’s get-together with the community is really fruitful and that we can find some solutions along the way.”

  • Video report by Sonia Deol

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