What people are saying
These are excerpts from some of the emails and online comments raising issues for and against the proposed Salus development. The names of the authors have been omitted for reasons of privacy. Offensive or inappropriate comments have not been included.
"I just wanted to write and thank you on your principled stand regarding the building of sheltered accommodation for the mentally ill in your Ward, despite the potential risks to your future career. I have a son with schizophrenia who is the most wonderful person you could hope to meet. Unfortunately, this is the HIV of mental illnesses. Depression is becoming more acceptable to polite society as an illness worthy of sympathy and empathy, but I fear it will be decades before the same can be said for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Community housing will be a key element to this breakdown of prejudice, and I want to personally thank you for your commitment to this battle."
"Salus does an extraordinary job of supporting its clients and their families. They have so many inspiring stories and so many lives reclaimed. The Councillor’s commitment to actually doing something about mental illness by supporting housing in his ward that will make a profound difference for 42 people (as well as their families) in our city, is important and valuable."
"As surprised as I am by the current density of available social housing within my neighbourhood, I am even more surprised that the city would consider allowing yet another subsidized housing complex to be built within such proximity to many others creating a pocket, especially when some neighbourhoods are completely free of them. As a new homeowner/resident, I would be displeased by the possible addition of another social housing complex within such proximity to pre‑existing ones."
"I'm comfortable with [Salus] setting up a residence on Clementine. Don't know if I'm comfortable with 42 units, but hearing from Salus would help me understand how that might work here in Heron Park."
"The difference is that the proposed Salus building is on the same block as 350 other units of community housing. The building on the councillor's block has less than 15 units. 3/4 of the entire community housing load in Capital Ward is on the block proposed for the Salus building. The Glebe and Old Ottawa South have no OCH units."
"Hintonburg has two Salus buildings, which have not caused any major problems in the community. The Hintonburg Community Association has a lot of experience with zoning and social housing issues (and in dealing successfully with the providers to establish a good working relationship), and we would be happy to talk with your residents who are concerned."
– Hintonburg Community Association
"Looking at Salus' Hintonburg location it appears to me like they've done a [poor] job of providing much (or any) outdoor space for humans to socialize.… Providing some accessible seating outside their doorways (instead of rocks and dirt paths) such as the well-used benches at 1455 Clementine is something I'm going to recommend they add to their plan."
"Supportive housing for people with mental illness is something I welcome with open arms. Even in my backyard and especially if there will be on-site resources and support staff. People with severe and persistent mental illness already live in our community and do without ongoing resources and support."
"People need to understand that the odds are good that they already share their neighbourhoods with people with mild to severe mental illness — they just don't know it.… It's possible to share your HOME with someone struggling with mental illness and not know it. I would rather live next door to a group of people who are being monitored and treated for their mental illness than someone who could be moments away from a break from reality."
"I believe those who work in mental health do a poor job of communicating the strengths of those with mental health issues. The clients are not Frankensteins, they are normal working people in many cases and stress, alcohol or gambling related problems, as well as a serious illness have knocked some badly off stride. My sister had need for mental health assistance housing and over a period of time she not only recovered personal strength but became an advocate for and volunteer with mental health patients."