‘It’s sad all the way around’

Children too afraid to even ride bikes in cul-de-sac.

Editor, The News:

Re: Homeless causing havoc? (The News, March 21).

I am also a resident of the area Mike Homen speaks of and I share in his frustration. We are not out to judge those who are down on their luck and use the support services of the Caring Place. However, I feel the frustration lies with what Rebecca Pretty expressed in her comment: “Many of those have been kicked out of the shelter, for offences like threatening the staff or guests, or doing drugs on the premises.”

So they relocate and set up in the area beside the cul-de-sac that Mr. Homen speaks of. This is a part of my neighbourhood, where my children can’t go and ride their bikes in the cul-de-sac because they are too afraid and it certainly isn’t a safe and friendly area to let them ride around.

We have also had numerous thefts. I understand that nowadays we have to put all our possessions into lockdown, but we had a pin stolen from our trailer for hauling our work equipment. Had my husband not noticed, that machine could have come undone, and without that safety pin could’ve killed my husband or anyone else on the road. Thank, God, he noticed it first.

Ms. Pretty painted a pretty clear picture of the type of people that flock to this area. That’s also an unfortunate set up for those who are trying to recover from their addictions and quite the site for those who are entering our municipality from the bypass. It’s sad all the way around.

Lisa Durante

Maple Ridge


Misplaced frustration

Editor, The News:

Re: Homeless causing havoc? (The News, March 21).

I read the article about homeless campsites, and I have to say how unimpressed I am with the shallow thinking of some folks.

How can anyone blame a place on an individual’s actions?

Homeless or not, people make their own choices. How can anyone expect a homeless shelter and soup kitchen to be responsible for the actions of a person?

Is it only homeless people who steal, or is it that they are an easy target to blame? I am sure that some do, but I am just as sure that people who have homes, and jobs, also steal.

Without the homeless shelter, would that not leave more people living in the bush area, and camped out in residential areas?

The story states that up to 55 people stay in the shelter per night. How can this be a negative if that means there are 55 less people sleeping on the street and in your back yard ?

Instead of talking about the problems, what about working on some solutions?

There are a lot of mental health issues and addictions in homelessness, but in our part of the Fraser Valley, there are nowhere near enough resources to help these people get well and productive.

Sure, people can get into treatment, but if they are on welfare, the housing options suck. Where do they go after they are done?

Treatment centres will also refuse people who have certain mental health prescriptions.

Many of these people live between a rock and a hard place. There are people in this town who work hard everyday, and can barely keep a roof over their head. There are those who have lost their homes because they can no longer work or do not make enough to afford the high rents.

Getting rid of The Salvation Army Caring Place would only leave more people camped somewhere outside, making more drug deals in more open areas.

It is not the services that create the problem, it is the lack of services.

I understand it is frustrating, but it is time to direct those frustrations where they belong – to those who have the power to create necessary services and reduce those living outdoors, which in turn would reduce open drug use and drug deals and the mess that is left behind from the campers.

J.  Sundstrom

Maple Ridge