Author: Dr. Loleen Berdahl
The Looking West 2007 Survey finds that the majority of urbanites in western Canada and Toronto rate reducing homelessness as a high priority, and that they tend to favour increased affordable housing and increased programs and services for homeless people over an increase in shelter beds as a solution to homelessness. In addition, the survey finds that many urbanites feel that governments are doing a poor job addressing urban social issues such as poverty.
While most of the residents of the seven cities included in the survey (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Toronto) report feeling safe in their own neighbourhoods during the day, the majority is “scared to set foot in” parts of their city and rates reducing crime as a high priority.
The survey asked about a number of “street level” social problems and found that urbanites tend to favour increased law enforcement when it comes to drug dealers, drug houses and panhandling. While most urbanites feel that drug addiction should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal issue, there is limited support for safe injection sites.