Understanding, not fear, is needed

A proposed project to build a personal care group home in a residential area came up for a vote at Weyburn’s city council on Monday night, and it really shouldn’t have been that big a deal.
The proposal was for a group home for four residents in the Creeks subdivision, with two or three round-the-clock staff, as they care for people who are physically or mentally challenged.
They would just be living their lives quietly, not bothering anyone, really very innocuous — but this somehow wasn’t the case, as several residents expressed reservations about this proposal.
In the end, city council voted against the proposal 4-1, citing some of the concerns that were raised by the residents, and it raises the question about whether people really have any idea what a group home is or would involve.
Coun. Brad Wheeler, who spoke up at council to voice some of those concerns as he also lives in that subdivision, brought the “elephant in the room” out into the open in a way, as he noted that it isn’t “politically correct” to attach a stigma to these residents, and said he felt badly if that was the case.
Some of the concerns raised were completely unsubstantiated, such as concerns over safety and over property values. In regards to safety, what dangers would there be? Group home residents live quietly, and are cared for by trained staff 24/7. They do not pose a danger to anyone.
A concern was voiced that there would have to be transportation provided. Weyburn Group Homes have their own bus, which would quietly pull up, take on the residents and drive away. To say this is a danger is badly overstating things, as school buses come by all the time, and they are completely safe for the children, as is expected by all families whose children attend school.
There was also a claim that this residence, which would look basically the same as any other home, would pull down property values. What basis is there to say that? No evidence of this was put forward, but the fear was voiced and was accepted at face value.
There were other options looked at in Weyburn and this was felt to be the best and most suitable location to build.
In this day and age where people should be gaining more understanding about one another, there should not be instances of fear about people who are vulnerable and need care for living. There should be a dialogue and understanding, not promoting a stigma of fear.

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