Homes for the homeless

Thank you, Kristina Bukharova, Grade 6, for “Provide homes for homeless on Garden City Lands” (Richmond News, Dec. 3, 2008).

The preamble to the 2005 Garden City lands memorandum of understanding (MOU) actually alludes to homelessness use, but greed took over.

Fortunately, the Bukharova proposal fits with the current federal government’s “Surplus Federal Property for Homelessness Initiative.” For one dollar, it transfers federal properties to community organizations and other levels of government for affordable housing and related services.

The Garden City lands purchase agreement expires this month. Good results are then possible if Richmond council rises above the few members who constantly find ways to frustrate the community’s desired success.

Despite what some parties would have us believe, the lands could still end up with a federal department with program needs that match our community needs. Citizens have shown agricultural and national heritage/park needs and now the homelessness-program need.

Ms. Bukharova’s advice complements the Sustainable Food Systems Park plan from the Richmond Poverty Response Committee. For the homes, I suggest a property exchange to enable the construction to be nearby, not on farmland. The federal program allows for that.

By Coun. Harold Steves’ low-end estimate, ending the purchase agreement will save Richmond taxpayers at least $100 million. With a bit of it plus the lands, the neediest among us can house and feed themselves.


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