Homeless shelter opens in Maple Ridge, but debate continues

Posted on: September 29th, 2019 by
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It’s close to one of the main arteries in Maple Ridge, and for months the Cliff Drive homeless camp has been a main topic of concern in the community.

At one point this summer, over 65 people were living the makeshift camp, and one person died of an overdose.

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READ MORE: Residents rally against homeless camp in Maple Ridge

Now, action is being taken. A temporary shelter has opened across the street on Lougheed Highway, and Raincity Housing will operate the temporary low barrier shelter. It will have 40 cots, offer three daily meals, and have washrooms and laundry facilities.

The aim is to have it open from October until March. But while some have applauded the move, it’s making the owners of neighbouring businesses nervous.

“I’m frustrated. I get tired of seeing the car dealership with the guys going and pissing there. It’s not healthy,” said Louis Bayard of Louis Leather Shop.

An open house was held last week to address concerns. The city says there will be random security patrols throughout the night, and lighting improvements in the area.

Sean Spear, Raincity Housing Assistant Director, said the meeting was a success.

“It is a housing crisis, for people to come indoors. People want to have their community without a camp there, and they want people to come indoors,” he said.

Kelly Swift with the City of Maple Ridge concurred.

“The business in the area are going to see a significant improvement from what they’re experiencing right, and I know a lot of their concerns come from what they’re experiencing right now.”

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