RE: 'Out of control' — Hintonburg beset with sudden homeless crowd, May 7th 2022 (Ottawa Citizen)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

In his out-of-control article on respite centres, Kelly Egan writes about “homeless souls” and the residents forced to act “as watchful social workers over the city’s most troubled people”. Drug paraphernalia of unknown origin was the sole corresponding photography with this article, and more concerning, crime trends were cited without the slightest effort to prove a correlation to the residents of the Tom Brown Arena.

The facts are more helpful: that research consistently shows that people experiencing homelessness are more likely to be victims of crime than people who are housed. That harassment, battery, and sexual violence victimisation all disproportionately affect people experiencing homelessness. That the overall victimisation rates fall when people sleeping outside enter shelters like the Tom Brown Arena.

The language and tactics used in the article rely on harmful stereotypes of our neighbours experiencing homelessness. As a team of people with lived experience of homelessness (several of us Hintonburg residents), my colleagues and I want neighbourhoods to be welcoming and safe for all. It is our hope that Hintonburg achieves this through an evidence-based approach, with the right to adequate housing afforded to everyone . The article cites a resident as saying “that bunch has to go”. Our hope is that the “not in my backyard” rhetoric will be the first to go. 

 Sophia Kelly-Langer, Hintonburg, on behalf of the Expert Steering Team at the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa

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Address: 22 O’Meara St, Ottawa, ON K1Y 4N6