Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • October-November 2022 • Circulation 5000

Housing and Compassion

On this cold winter day, my dog and I are making our way down the off leash trail in Dawson Park. My dog climbs up a little and checks out a black tent half way up the hill. My heart skips a beat when I think that there might actually be someone living outside in this weather. These poor souls are no doubt from the same group of people who are chased away from neighbourhood gathering spots.

I moved to this neighbourhood because I found the perfect house, untouched by time and also admittedly untouched by the tools of a handyman. Still, it provides me shelter and comfort.

I’ve been proud of the Boyle Street Community League’s acceptance of various non-profit housing initiatives. The City has granted developers additional density in exchange for which they must include some affordable suites in their building. Other projects such as Boyle Renaissance have provided affordable housing to people who would have found it otherwise impossible to house their families in such a clean and uplifting environment .

I hope that the open mindedness and acceptance that made the non-market housing possible filters down to the homeless and under-housed. I envision a culture where the newcomers to the neighbourhood show compassion towards those who are less fortunate and accept that the homeless make their home on the street and as such it’s not respectful to ask them to move along from their gathering places. Every time I talk to one of the “street people” I think, “there but for the grace of God go I”. When I walk in the River Valley, I can’t help but be grateful to live in such a great area.

I’m aware that the Arena District development has put upwards pressure on rents and that many residents are afraid of losing their rented accommodations. Hopefully, landlords will realize that it’s better to have a long term tenant at a slightly lower rate than to open a revolving door of new renters trying to afford the higher price.

For sure our neighbourhood is going through some growing pains. I think – and this is my personal opinion only – that as long as new developments include some non-profit housing, we can retain the character of Boyle Street. We’re home to many young creative people and to elders who have experiences to share. That’s what makes our diversity interesting.

I understand that it’s easy for me to be so optimistic. After my walk, I get to settle in front of my fireplace and throw in some wood that I saved from a renovation project. It’s easy to be positive when I have a dog rolled up at my feet and a fire roaring to warm us up.

Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League. The BSCL Update will continue in a future issue.

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