Late Monday night, at the end of the executive committee meeting at city hall, Councillor Cesar Palacio summed up how a lot of people feel when a homeless shelter is proposed near where they live. “There is a need for a shelter,” he said, “but the location is not a proper location.”

Virtually all of us know there is a need. The existing homeless shelters are operating at over 90 per cent capacity, and one of the largest, on George St., is closing for a years-long rebuilding process soon. People sleep on our streets, for lack of shelter. People die on our streets. There is a need.

But when it is proposed to fill that need in a location near us, suddenly many of us see fine-grained flaws in the proposal. There are already too many shelters nearby so this will overwhelm the block, or there are no shelters nearby so this one will disturb the character of the neighbourhood. Too many children live nearby. Or not enough homeless people live nearby.