Fredericton — In a devastating blow to kindness and compassion, the City of Fredericton voted 6-5 against supporting a Housing First initiative, which would have provided $900K in municipal funding toward the purchase of the City Motel to house and care for the city’s homeless. This, despite the fact that Housing First initiatives have been proven to save taxpayers millions through a reduction in detox visits, hospital inpatient costs and incarcerations.
After a backlash from city residents who were largely in favour of the project, the six councillors who voted against it met in a private meeting Tuesday night to deliberate what to do next, in order to secure their seats in the upcoming municipal election. Councillor Henri Mallet spoke first.
“Listen, it’s like I said in the meeting on Monday: ‘I strongly believe it’s the job of our society to take care of the most vulnerable. But just not with money.’ So let’s try to think of ways to solve the homeless problem without money to appease the haters. Put on your short-term thinking caps and let’s brainstorm.”
“Maybe we could build some little lean-tos for them in Odell,” proposed Stephen Chase. “That would be free. What do you think?”
“Nah, we kyboshed any future Odell developments early last year, remember?” stated John MacDermid. “Summer is coming. How about we ask for billets who could offer their backyards for free tenting?”
“Not in my backyard! Too dangerous!” yelled Steven Hicks.
“Oh, I have a good idea!” shouted Kevin Darrah. “Let’s send all the homeless to Middle Island. It’s what they did with Australia and look how nice that country turned out!”
“Continent,” corrected Hicks. “And no, we can’t do that. It would set a precedent. Give one needy group an island and everyone will want their own island.”
“Listen Hicks,” interjected Dan Keenan. “You said last night that Fredericton is a great place to be homeless. Why don’t we just put a bit of PR spin on this issue? Start running some commercials on local radio promoting all the things that make Fredericton great for the homeless? It’ll make both Fredericton and homelessness look more appealing!”
“Oh, I like that idea,” stated Hicks. “But unfortunately, commercials cost money, money that could better be spent on ‘niceties’ like Blundstones and Subarus for the great citizens of Fredericton.”
All six councillors nodded in agreement and silently contemplated their next plan of action. Finally, Stephen Chase spoke.
“Hey guys, you know we still have an extra Kindness Meter in the basement of city hall. Why don’t we put that up to collect money? I think one more Kindness Meter could really tip the scales in solving the homelessness crisis in this city!”
Cheers and thunderous applause erupted from the other five councillors. “You’re a genius!” shouted John MacDermid.
Hicks was spotted early Wednesday morning stepping over eight rough sleepers to pound the bright green Kindness Meter into a hole in the pavement. “That should do it!” he shouted, slurping loudly from his $8 latte and waking six more needy individuals shivering on the ground nearby.