It takes a village to raise a child—just not my village. That is the message that I got from the recent Village of Cache Creek council meeting, about the proposal put forth by the Fehrs for their property on Valleyview Crescent in Cache Creek (to make available two homes for second stage housing for women and children).
What is second stage housing for women and their children? It provides housing and supports for women who have left abusive relationships as they make plans for independent living. Many women are referred to second stage housing programs from shorter term transition houses and safe home programs.
Second stage housing programs provide emotional support, safety planning, safe affordable transitional housing, and referrals to support services and long-term housing.
Here’s what the Fehrs proposed: taking a property that was uninhabitable and fixing it up at their own expense (a huge expense due to construction issues typical of houses on that street); making the residence into an up-and-down duplex; then applying to local non-profit groups asking them to organize second stage housing for two families of mothers and children, with rent that would be capped to be affordable.
The plan would mean that anyone chosen to participate would have to meet strict criteria, and would be monitored and could only stay for a maximum of two years. They would have to follow rules, such as continued employment.
Here’s what the residents of Valleyview Crescent seemd to think: it’s a transition house, or it’s a rehab facility. In both cases they were wrong. And even though they were told that this was not the case, they apparently did not listen or didn’t hear what this project would be.
These residents don’t seem to support more families with children in our town, whose parents can afford clean, safe housing with a yard, in a community that needs population numbers to continue to have local schools, local health care, and community services. Are these residents so perfect, and live such perfect lives, that they can’t open their neighbourhood to make a safe environment for mothers and children?
The Village of Cache Creek mayor and council also showed an extreme lack of appreciation for what the Fehrs had proposed, and didn’t appear to have read the proposal or the letters of support. These are the community leaders of Cache Creek, who apparently have no idea that women and children in single-parent homes need community support to find clean, safe housing. Not one person on the council seemed to understand what second stage housing is and why it’s needed.
So what are the options left to the Fehrs, now that the residents of Valleyview Crescent managed to stop this project? They can rent to anyone without restriction; and I do mean anyone. Corry and Gordon Fehr had well thought out and researched plans, and spent considerable dollars toward these plans. Without the support of the village they will now have to rent to anyone, regardless of what people think of the people they rent to.
I hope that people are proud of what they accomplished.