Business Engagement Ambassador Project
The idea for BEAP first emerged in a meeting of the Abbotsford Drug War Survivors, with over 100 homeless and drug using Abbotsford citizens present.
It wasn’t that they were concerned that a “few bad apples” were spoiling the reputation of all homeless and drug using people in Abbotsford. They acknowledged that a lot of people who end up on the streets of Abbotsford—besieged with urgent needs—can make pretty thoughtless (and, let’s be honest, terrible) neighbours.
But most of them—whether on a daily basis, or just when they have a good moment from time to time—already make an effort to be better neighbours. It’s just they do so under very difficult circumstances.
If you want to clean up the garbage from your peers who are too distracted to do it themselves, but:
- you have to walk several blocks with a bum knee to find a trash can
- you need to use the washroom while you’re doing your clean-up efforts, but can’t find facilities that anyone will let you use…
…these positive impulses can be submerged in frustrated and possibly expletive-laden variations on “What’s the point?”
When, on top of that, other citizens and throw their trash at you, or make a midnight stop in your already blighted neighbourhood to dump their soiled mattresses… well, the weight of all of this can become too much to bear alone. So, now there’s BEAP—a partnership between Abbotsford’s homeowners, business owners, and homeless citizens (with some municipal, health and social service entities mixed in for good measure).