Thursday, September 3, 2015

Urban Standards v. Homelessness

In the City of Edmonton implementation of Urban Standards bylaw, there was a great many poor houses (cheap rent) condemned and closed, demolished, or otherwise converted to not for rent. Did that have an significant impact on the working poor and poor becoming homeless? As I was asked for an opinion on foundation of a considerable number of these, I was not an insider, but only exposed to a small portion of the situations. My experience says that the city used there Urban Standards to condemn a considerable number of marginal structures that we poor, but better than homeless.

House with foundation movement are obviously a problem, but not necessary unsafe to the residences. Many older houses have this problem, due to failure to allow for the desiccation of high plastic clay or frost effects on the foundation. Stick built buildings can withstand considerable movement before becoming structurally unsound. These are quite livable for the residences, but do not look good.

The big problem is we can feel the slope. When a firefighter feels a floor slope, the assumption is the floor has failed, so an exit is in order. No further effort will be made to enter the building, even if people are know to be inside. This is what the City Of Edmonton termed unsafe. The frost will kill you, and fire might; which is the bigger risk?

So the City of Edmonton contributed to their own homeless problem. What can we say about that? The City's stance is the houses were unsafe, and in the event of fire they were less safe than flat floors. Now what about all those other places south of the U of A, Lendrum, to Southgate, area with high plastic clay, private homes with uneven floors? Many in this area are far worse than those which were condemned in the inner city area.

But what do I know?

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