Lack of affordable housing not a new problem for Manitoulin

To the Expositor:

This is in response to the letter in the June 20 edition of The Expositor regarding the clients of the Hope Farm and the lack of housing (‘Mindemoya taxpayer concerned with housing options,’ June 20, page 4). Although there is an issue regarding a shortage of housing, the suggestion that Hope Farm clients are at fault for the lack of geared to income housing is prejudicial and in no way accurate.

The lack of housing is indeed an issue, not only in Mindemoya, but across the Island. Geared to income housing, according to provincial regulations, is for everyone that qualifies and not just seniors. There is exclusive senior housing in Mindemoya across from the hospital; perhaps that should be converted to a senior exclusive geared to income project. This is sarcasm; life is not that simple.

The comments regarding ‘Hope No Farm’ were extremely ignorant. They imply that not only does the author not know the people at Community Living, he doesn’t care to know them. That is his loss. Most of the clients in the homes and the Day Program are terrific people. There are a few that are more rambunctious than others, however that is true in any section of the population. The implication that the clients of the Hope Farm are out of control is one step away from saying that all of them should be institutionalized.

The staff at Community Living do what they can, despite the ever-increasing budget cuts. As with most caregivers, they go above and beyond their job. They could make the claim that they are friends as well as caregivers with the clients. Everyone should be appreciative of all they do in the community in their occupational roles.

Most clients use their small monthly cheque to pay for their basic needs. Their cheques are similar with most seniors’ cheques; neither cheque stretches beyond the basics.

I know a little about this subject. I have two disabled brothers: one is legally blind and mentally challenged and the other is autistic. The autistic one attends the Hope Farm Day Program. Both of them live at home with me and each receives a small cheque for very basic living expenses. My mother also lives in this home existing on a tiny pension cheque. She suffered a stroke two years ago and is now physically challenged. All of them have learned to co-exist in this home. Their cost of living is subsidised by me.

I give this example to illustrate that the problems are not as easy to solve as has been said. Most disabled people and seniors do not have parents, relatives, or others who can ‘help out’—those who can deal with the additional responsibility of others along with their own lives.

Everyone deserves to not only have life, but to be able to live life and enjoy it as well. It may be inconvenient for some people, but that’s how life is. Most people are not aware of those who live out of the public view. My mother and brothers may not be a part of this author’s problem, but they can read and understand the insulting nature of that letter.

The author was correct in identifying the problem of the lack of affordable housing; it is not a new problem. His belief that Community Living is the cause of those problems is definitely false and his proposed ‘solution’ is wrong and a step backward in society. Lack of housing is also an issue that no one is willing to tackle. An example in the Northeast Town is the Continuum of Care plan that would expand Manor capabilities and decrease the housing shortage for seniors. There are a few people who will not recognize there are problems at the manor; like the author of that letter, these people blame others for their inability to act.

Hopefully Mr. Taylor’s issue will get people thinking about a very real problem—lack of affordable housing. A solution may then be found. However, those of Community Living should not be shouldering the blame for an issue that they did not cause.

Melissa Peters

Little Current