20140206

DTES Homeless Shelters To Be Renovated (satire)


Within minutes of finding the announcement published last year of the homeless shelter renovation money of $144+ million of BC taxpayer money, I found the above information on Google. It originally was shared for anyone having the link, but on signing onto Google, I have been given the access to make a copy of it.

Since it is this copy that I am sharing, and it is provided courtesy of taxpayer money, it is in the public domain. However, listing addresses and locations of homeless shelters does not violate anyone's privacy since no names are mentioned.

As well, Google Maps information included with this data are filtered such that anyone depicted has facial features blurred.

My reason for re-posting this information is to provide evidence that the DTES homeless shelter renovation money is being shared among these shelters.

Yet the timeframe for renovation obvious is for a later date since, according to current information, one of these shelters suffered fire damage in October 2013 which affected two suites (the suite in which the fire occurred and the one above it).

It has been four months, and nothing has been done about the two suites. Instead, the suites were locked and the resident was moved to another suite. Initial report from the Vancouver Fire Department is clutter probably caught fire on the radiator, possibly due to a lit cigarette butt.

Since that time, Lookout Society has done nothing to fix both suites since the building consortium has yet to even come up with a renovation plan that does not disrupt the other 30+ residents.

I refuse to blame the society in charge of homeless shelters since it is the onus of the consortium to define a plan on renovating two suites. Therefore I hold the renovation consortium responsible for this delay.

As well, this shelter currently needs to renovate the suites on the west side of each floor without windows to the alley south and to the building beside it so that they get adequate lighting by replacing the ceiling light lamps with wide-spectrum LED lamps instead of the mercury-laden energy-efficient lamps, due to mercury poisoning risk.

Indeed, most of the lamps in this building need to be upgraded to LED lighting. However, it is most likely the mercury energy efficient lamps are being used currently due to cost savings.

Currently, according to information from the report in January 2013, it costs $160,000 to renovate a homeless shelter room but costs $32,000 a room to build a new homeless shelter. That means this shelter could be replaced with a shelter costing $1.2 million but it will cost $320,000 to replace two suites.

Obviously the BC government will not replace the shelter with a new structure due to its BC Heritage designation. However, its reason that no land is available only suggests that current land costs within that part of the DTES are too high to buy for a new project to address the needs of 30+ residents.

If all 30+ rooms were renovated, then the total cost would be more than $5 million. Therefore it would be cheaper to build them a new shelter.

In my opinion, the reason why they don't just built a new shelter is that the government does not believe it would be cost effective to give homeless people new rooms because of the risk of hoarders collecting junk that is both a fire and health risk, combined with their opinion that harm reduction efforts would turn it into a residence for drug addicts.

I am sure that no more than 10 people are hard core drug addicts at this shelter. At least a third of them are mentally ill. As well, the Lookout Shelter Society has a strict no drug dealing policy which gets addressed when a pattern of visitors flowing in and out of one suite in a day over a few months is detected.

For example, a drug dealer's residence was raided sometime last year by the Vancouver Police at this shelter, possibly after October 2013. Everyone knew about it by December and he was evicted by February of this year.

However, not all visitors are there to buy drugs. Instead, some of the drug addicts who can't stand Onsite come to the shelter to use the shelter syringes, water and cookers and thus freeload on supplies reserved for residents who are drug addicts.

Other visitors just visit because the residents make friends easily and trust their friends. Yet this trust has led to their keys being stolen by their so-called friends.

In my opinion, a new shelter will not fix the residents' risky behavior and because of this insight, the provincial government will not build new homeless shelters anytime now.

If the government of BC had chosen instead to fund the building of homeless shelters, then the cost of new housing would have been $30 million ($15 million for 13 shelters plus $15 million for land costs). Unfortunately, land costs more than $15 million for 13 new shelters).

IMO the BC government could have built and renovated 13 shelters for $50 million, renovating three shelters for $20 million, buying land for $20 million and building 10 new shelters for $10 million). The current plan shows that the government rejected that strategy due to the fact that ten properties in the DTES are worth more than $20 million.

As well, the current deal with the renovation consortium is not proper use of tax dollars since it is apparent that the government is too cheap to build new shelters because of unacknowledged belief that they don't deserve it yet.

In short, it is more lucrative to make this deal because the renovation companies involved will be paying taxes to fill the BC government coffers. However, it will not recoup the $144 million of tax money the consortium will get when they finish renovations.

Nowhere have I read anything indicating when the consortium will begin their renovations. So it looks like $144 million just profited the renovators without one new homeless shelter being built.

So far, it looks like the BC government does not really care about the homeless enough.

YMMV

Update: February 26, 2014 2015h

Additionally a nearby shelter has had its residents temporarily moved to this one. Unfortunately it appears that the shelter being monitored solely by temporary shelter workers have residents who respect the workers more than they do the staff including security. This leads to scenarios where the new residents, feeling that they are free from constant monitoring by workers, turn to their substance of abuse, alcohol, much to the detriment of the permanent residents.

All it is take one chronic alcoholic with a dual diagnosis of multiple substance abuse and comorbid psychotic disorder to ruin the previous harmony, due to their temporary placement at the previously mentioned shelter during the renovations of the shelter for the second group of tenants.

Not only are the permanent tenants at odds with the chronic alcoholic, his fellow alcoholics are also at odds with this person, all because he will not comply with the rules of this shelter.

It makes me wonder how order was maintained by temporary shelter workers in the shelter now undergoing renovations. Harm reduction among alcoholics may consist of limiting the amount of alcohol imbibed but in the current shelter, there appears to be no limits. Since the placement of the temporary residents, there have been reports of visitor who live elsewhere returning to their home shelter in various stages of extreme intoxication, including sleeping in the stairwell of this shelter.

In short, the temporary reprieve that recently occurred when a drug dealer of almost two decades was removed is over. Now the alcoholics from their shelter, which is now undergoing renovations, have come to roost. Without the constant monitoring of their alcoholic behavior by a team of temporary shelter workers, these alcoholics have fallen off the wagon.

Of course, the worst of it is the chronic alcoholic who constantly puts down staff and workers alike, for he is the king of drama and his intoxication has led to an extreme of egocentricity that verges on narcissism so toxic a few workers may ignore him to their detriment.

For his feelings are hurt by anyone who ignores his demands for attention to the point of rage, all because of drink!

Of course, he would like to believe all of this is untrue and also would like to cover up his misconduct of behavior, but he does so by manipulating staff and worst of all, conflicts with immediate neighbours who are permanent residents at the shelter first described in this article.

It makes me wonder how the people in charge of the society that runs these six shelters could fail their clients by placing them under the constant supervision of temporary shelter workers. How have these workers failed their clients who mainly suffer from alcoholism?

By spoiling them with constant supervision until they make decisions with poor outcomes regarding their health due to unmonitored consumption of alcohol.

At the moment the shelter in question has what could be called a small speak-easy operating out of one room and a veritable crack den in another room, all under the noses of the staff and workers alike. If this is harm reduction, then it is not working mainly because the chronic alcoholics are restless due to lack of constant supervision and support.

IMO it is also the sense of entitlement that alcoholics seem to have without thought for restraint in alcohol consumption. Thus, the most vulnerable person shall always be the alcoholic whose bark is often worse than his bite.

DISCLAIMER:

This information is based on taxpayer-paid information provided by the provincial government of British Columbia and is shared on the provision that any illegal use is prohibited. This includes criminal harassment and stalking of residents at all locations reported in this link. By making this disclaimer, I cannot be held criminally liable for any illegal use of this information.


Reference:

Media report on millions given to renovation consortium for renovations on up to thirteen homeless shelters: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/metro/Vancouver+hotels+that+house+poor+million+renovations/7802422/story.html

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