LETTER: What we all want: dignity

Pick up any media and the headlines will contain some hint of the financial burdens placed upon everyone from the middle class on down.

Editor, The News:

Re: ‘Homelessness is a mental health issue’ (The News, May 27).

Pick up any media and the headlines will contain some hint of the financial burdens placed upon everyone from the middle class on down.

At the bottom of the pile, you’ll find the homeless.

Unfortunately, what you may not realize is that good people could just as easily be that other person, drug addicted and homeless.

Government clawbacks and underfunded shelter rates, inadequate mental health services don’t meet the duality which often underpins the complex issues of homelessness.

Habitual homelessness is a different story.

Personally, as a person with a disability, I struggled with this dual diagnosis, which created chaos and huge suffering.

When I decided to take a different approach and learn about the issues that others similar to me faced, I realized that many didn’t have the ability to understand the system. And, as a result, the system hasn’t had sustainable results.

Instead, what we do have is Cliff Ave.

I staged a one-woman protest in 2011, organized a rally, gave presentations to committees and participated in community networking projects in addition to assisting others who don’t have a clear understanding of the legislation that governs their life; in my case, provincial income assistance.

I learned the legislation and the rules of MSDSI (income assistance) and Residential Tenancy to help those facing challenges.

I share my story because I have the same problems as many who have a home and those who don’t, and if not for circumstance, I would never know how to give authenticity because everyone needs help.

I understand the outrage of the property and business taxpaying citizens surrounding the funding for the homelessness task force for Maple Ridge.

I attended the update from council and I am convinced the Mayor Nicole Read has a very fluid plan that allows for redirection and will undoubtedly be put to task.

Thus far, small immediate relief for all affected directly at Cliff Ave., the property and business owners and the street citizens comes in the form of a portable toilet  to address the immediate concern of the sanitary conditions and in doing so gave what we all want: dignity.

While I empathize with the street citizens, and agree the financial assistance given does have too many financial hits for those who are trying to be contributors, only a change in policy can offer relief.

After giving shelter to a homeless man earlier this year for a short time, the frustration with the supports available and the compliance of the individual overrode any housing provided.

Key in that is compliance to common sense rules, and new routines are difficult without the right individual supports.

Having the right housing is key, but so are the policies that surround it to allow for the best possible outcome.

It’s more than time for all levels of government to get together and create programs that do the best possible job for the situation at hand.

Maple Ridge’s mayor and council are weighing through complex funding scenarios, looking for the best overall outcome for all homeless, not just for those camping on Cliff Ave.

At the end of the day, balancing the homeless issue also means preventing it.

Teal Quin

independent advocate

legislative poverty awareness

 

Just Posted

Maple Ridge’s indoor pool redo in final months

Structural work done, with target opening to be late summer

Police investigating body found in Maple Ridge park

Discovered early Friday near highway

Maple Ridge’s lake low with dry spell

Boat launch not open at Alouette Lake

Maple Ridge man to the rescue twice in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Maple Ridge magnetic hill defies the law of Newton

It is a stretch of road where cars roll uphill instead of down

VIDEO: Giants take a 1-0 playoff series lead

Vancouver beat Seattle 7-1 in game one of the best-of-seven Western Conference series in Langley

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

Six ‘distraction thefts’ in two days spark warning to seniors by Vancouver police

Distraction thefts are used to steal jewelry off the necks of unsuspecting women

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Most Read