Homelessness alive and well

Editor, The News:

Re: Homeless count up in MR (The News, May 25).

I would like to talk about this homeless count. I hope that because the homeless people are less visible on the street, that it is not assumed that the problem is in recession.

Homelessness is alive and well in Maple Ridge, as well as in the other municipalities mentioned in the story.

The count only lasts for a day and that is not enough time to create accurate numbers.

There are various reasons that the numbers were lower in other places, and higher here in Maple Ridge. When doing a count on any demographic, you need to think about accessibility. The homeless are not easily accessible, so the count would vary. We could go out today and get different numbers.

It seemed to me that Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin was offended by the numbers being higher here and lower in larger municipalities. The count lasts for a day and the only thing that they mean is that these were the people who were counted on that day.

Please, Mr. Daykin, remember that we have a jail housing unit out here, where they hold people from other places. Some of these people get comfortable here and choose to stay, thus raising our homeless count.

Homelessness is an ugly issue that nobody wants to look at. It is this reason that the count is so hard.

These people get forced out of their camps because people do not want to live near them.

Homeless people are anywhere from Grizzly Adams look-a-likes to the kid next door. Many live in shame and, therefore, deny that they have no fixed address.

Mental health issues and drug addiction are rampant in the homeless community and a lot of these people cannot be reached to be counted, and others are not homeless, but are assumed to be because of their life issues.

The bottom line is, we have homeless people. Some have been homeless for many years, and some have recently become so because of life circumstances.

If we work together at creating housing rather than finding reasons not to create housing, we could resolve this issue for many people.

There will always be homeless people, but there do not have to be so many.

A. Sundstrom

Maple Ridge