Comment 53294

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 19, 2010 at 12:12:29

How do you define not wanting "more" poor people downtown, though? Is this an absolute or a relative thing? If the total population of downtown grows as it intensifies, does this mean we shouldn't have any more at all, or just that we shouldn't have a larger percentage? If low-income housing is turning into high-end condos, will these be replaced by new affordable housing? Will this mean avoiding new uses which might attract a "low-brow" crowd (social services, sports bars etc)? Will it mean that in the future tax dollars are only spent on high-brow attractions? Does this all take into account broader shifts in the economy? What if there are, for no fault of our own, far more poor people tomorrow than there are are today?

There are lots of problems in low-income communities, I live in the North End, believe me, I understand this. But making people richer on average isn't the solution. Just because there are more wealthy people nearby does not mean that they, personally, will gain a cent. Likewise, just because things like addiction and domestic abuse tend to afflict low-income areas doesn't mean that the solution is to remove supports for those communities. Methadone clinics, women's shelters, food banks, low-income housing - these things aren't always pleasant to live next door to, but if we're going to relocate them out of the core or oppose them altogether (and those calls are coming out on a very regular basis) then we're going to limit the access of people in need to support services, things are going to get much worse in terms of things like crack-heads "plaguing" our streets.

The assumption that poor people - even if they're not junkies, criminals or prostitutes - are bad for business needs to be dealt with if we're ever going to have a hope of anything but a few isolated wealthy bubbles of liveable communities. We need ways forward that work for everyone, and hear from everyone (not just middle-class advocates for the poor like I), or we'll just create more "ghettos" elsewhere.

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