Won’t having BEAP around scare away our customers?

A: The reason BEAP was started in the first place was because the conditions around some businesses were already scaring customers away

Facing the facts

Unfortunately, homelessness is a fact in Abbotsford. When citizens don’t have a place of their own that feels safe, they are going to seek out places that do feel safe (or at least safer). That’s human nature. Until we solve homelessness, it might be best to acknowledge that people who are homeless are human and will act according to human nature

If our goal is simply to make homeless people go somewhere else by making our block or neighbourhood or business feel unsafe for them, the result will be people that feel increasingly unsafe, oppressed and desperate. When one person tries to make another person’s life a living hell, no one can feel good about the situation… particularly when it doesn’t make anything better, and especially when it makes things worse.

The idea behind BEAP is to try to make the best of a bad situation. Homeowners, business owners, customers and the homeless are already interacting with and affecting each other. We believe that the quality and effects of these inevitable interactions can be improved.

What we’ve already seen

When it is clear that businesses have positive relationships with those living in or frequenting a commercial area, we have seen this create a positive and even inspiring environment for customers. When people without homes are looking after an area, removing trash, shovelling snow and clearly trying to collaborate with businesses in the area to improve conditions… rather than avoiding these citizens, we’ve seen customers buying them coffees, having a little chat, even stopping to chip in with clean-up efforts.