Recently, the Salvation Army of Canada announced its intention to build a 350-bed facility a literal stone’s throw away from my family home in Ottawa. Given the lack of public consultations that preceded the announcement, it came as a significant shock to both my family and the rest of the neighbourhood.

After the initial shock of the announcement wore off, many of us began researching what this facility would mean for our community. It would be comprised of 140 emergency-shelter beds plus an additional 210 beds for various types of residential treatment. A facility of this magnitude would not only have the typical impacts associated with condo developments, such as added traffic, noise, etc., but would also bring many more people struggling with addictions into the neighbourhood. And as the Salvation Army does not engage in harm reduction programs, such as needle exchanges or supervised injection, drug use, drug dealing, and alcohol consumption in public spaces can be expected to increase.