Editor, The News:
The homelessness problem has been viewed all wrong.
The problem for me is not found within the camp, but within the community.
Our view of these men and women struggling on the streets has been inhumane and, at best, detached.
We are so concerned about our businesses, our living conditions, our city’s appeal, and our own personal agendas as to why we want to help these people.
We have viewed the homeless as a problem, not as people.
They are men and women like you and me, sons, daughters, brothers, and friends, perhaps parents or grandparents.
If our idea of a solution to this is not one of compassion and love, we will never see the end.
If our idea is to build houses to cram them into, we are either short-sighted or just genuinely disinterested in helping these people.
We need to realize that most, if not all of these people suffer from mental illness or addiction issues, even both.
These individuals don’t just need a roof over their heads, they need to be in mental health facilities and group homes, or recovery houses.
And for those who don’t suffer from either of these, what good is a roof over their heads if we don’t look to provide jobs?
Helping these people with there mental and addiction issues, and getting them jobs should be the top priority if we truly want to help these people.
But everything I’ve seen from our politicians has been a heartless status quo appeal.
The real problem lies within our mayor’s campaign letters, one in which she promised to end homelessness in Maple Ridge.
See, what I think the mayor is slowly learning is that you can only lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
If we genuinely care for these people, and want to see a permanent solution, if it isn’t an agenda of mine, if it’s not just so my city can look better and I can feel more content about my living conditions, if we truly love the people as family and friends, we have to realize that they need to want the help.
It’s the job of our political leaders to find the proper help for each person individually, and it’s the their job to accept the help provided.
Editor, The News:
I keep hearing and reading the mayor, council, and citizens talking about homelessness and the need to acquire accommodations for the people currently living in tents on Cliff Avenue.
Shouldn’t we be talking about treatment centres?
I don’t know of anyone who would rent their accommodations to a drug addict without them first going to treatment and being off drugs.
I have driven down Cliff Ave. to buy from the business that this tent city is affecting. I would hope that the city has at least shown as much compassion for this business and the people that live on Cliff Ave. as the people currently squatting on the street.
At the very least, their taxes should have been cancelled for this year.