AGAR: Put decent people — not criminals — in TCHC units

If we don’t allow criminals to live in social housing, where will they go?

That is the question Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat asks, when people support Mayor John Tory’s position that it is time to clean the criminal element out of TCHC.

She’s asking the wrong question.

The right question has to do with the fact that we have more demand than supply for subsidized housing.

Where will you send the deserving, law-abiding candidate for public housing when you fill the vacancy with a criminal?

It is a matter of priorities as much as it is about criminality.

And let’s be honest about criminals, keeping in mind that the issue in TCHC is not that there are a couple of shoplifting miscreants and a jay walker in the building.

As the Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy reported, “TCHC CEO Kathy Milsom has repeatedly referred to safety being a priority, considering their buildings — with only 4% of Toronto’s population — are the source of 25% of violent crime in the city.  Yet I think there are far too many highly-paid community safety officers who still turn a blind eye to the drug dealing and to criminals entering buildings illegally.”

We are talking about violence and fear and the fact that criminals in the building have access to young children they can attempt to recruit into their lifestyle.

Keesmaat would have us believe that they cannot be expected to behave properly unless they have a taxpayer-funded place to live.

But it is not poverty that causes people to commit crime. If it was, everybody below a certain income level would be a criminal. The average poor person has no worse a life than the one who commits violence, yet endures the resulting indignities and privations without savaging their fellow citizens.

It is not lack of access to social housing that causes criminals to behave the way they do. In fact it is access to social housing for criminals that results in 25% of the city’s violent crime being centered there.

If we put them out on the street, will they have a place to go?

I am less interested in answering that question as I am in knowing whether they will continue to be criminals either way. Evidence seems to suggest they will, so they may as well operate in the cold and wet, while we keep some decent people warm and dry.

When I brought this issue up on my NEWSTALK1010 radio show I heard from people like the man who said he is a senior citizen who has waited five years for access to TCHC. He wonders how he got in line behind people with criminal records.

Does Keesmaat have an answer to that question?

It is easy for social do-gooders to get on their high horse and hurl accusations suggesting that they are the reasonable ones.

But Toronto’s social services are already overwhelmed by the thousands of unchecked illegal entrants who crossed our border in Quebec; the ones Prime Minster Justin Trudeau sent to Toronto with a nudge and a wink to Quebec that they would not be a problem – for Quebec.

Good people who need a hand up, or criminals who have let us all down?

It is a matter of making choices with precious resources.

Which choice would you make?

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies