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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: Co-habitating with bears

Maple Ridge is home to a large bear population, and there are tips available to help avoid conflict

TIME IS RUNNING OUT: Readers invited to share wildlife photographs

Aim, snap, shoot, and share your pictures of wildlife in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to win!

LETTER: All Washington plate owners can’t be Canadian residents

A Maple Ridge man questions presence of U.S. vehicles in the Canada, despite closed borders

Residential real estate market rebounding well: long-time realtor

House prices, sales, and listings in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are moving on an upward trajectory

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are prepared for high Fraser River levels

Peak numbers are expected to be below trigger levels for both cities

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

Friends, family remember victim of Langley possible triple-homicide fire at memorial

Memorial held for one the of three found dead at a house fire in Langley Meadows last month

Fraser Valley Bandits, CEBL bringing pro sports back later this month

Abbotsford-based basketball team kicks off CEBL Summer Series on July 26

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Most Read