The Island Crisis Care Society has proposed the use of vacant space at Orca Housing for residents to learn much-needed skills by creating a small craft-making business.
That same space was originally intended to be used as a cold-weather shelter but this was denied as well. It seems that our city council is ready to put up a concrete wall to the ideas presented by the very organization that should be making the decisions. Why is it that they even have to ask? Is the ICCS not in a better position to decide what is best for the residents, and how best to use the available space?
The staff of Orca Place will be getting to know the residents, their particular needs, and what constitutes the potential for moving forward in their lives. Why is it that council is blocking progress? It’s not likely that this small business is going to interfere in any way. It wouldn’t be any different than residents in Stanford Place or another care facility making crafts and selling them to the public who come to their sale. It would be a valuable asset in building self-esteem in a vulnerable individual, along with the obvious one of learning how to interact and work in a team or community environment, before heading out into the intimidating world of career training and employment.
It seems to me that this is what the goal of ‘supportive’ housing is about. Gradual steps, with supportive staff or volunteers patiently encouraging progress. Once this is accomplished, then on to the next, much more difficult step.
I think that our council is being less than supportive. Let the Island Crisis Care Society make the decisions regarding the residents, and do the work that our council is not trained to do.