Simple solution: move Caring Place elsewhere

Most of our neighbours feel much the same as we do about these appalling circumstances.

Editor, The News:

Re: Be careful, open-minded about Caring Place (Letters, Oct. 3).

My complaint about the Caring Place and many of its patrons is based on my own experience and observations and those of my wife.

Most of our neighbours feel much the same as we do about these appalling circumstances.

The following is just a few of the incidents that have taken place in recent weeks.

A filthy appearing prostitute presented herself at the lobby entrance to our building. She stated she wanted to come inside the lobby so she could change her tampon.

When refused permission, she proceeded to change the tampon on the sidewalk directly in front of the lobby entrance, in broad daylight.

She then departed, leaving the tampon on the sidewalk.

Similar incidents have been witnessed more than once or twice in the immediate vicinity.

On several occasions, human excrement, drug paraphernalia and used condoms have been discovered in all three of our exterior stairwells.

Prostitutes and drug peddlers are frequently seen plying their trades in the parking lot and alley adjacent to the small church across the street from our building.

Garbage is strewn along our sidewalks and streets.

And, ask Mayor Ernie Daykin about the drug paraphernalia and used condoms frequently found in the parking lot and immediate vicinity of the Maple Ridge Baptist Church, just a couple of hundred feet from our front door.

I believe most of the offending cretins are patrons of or supported by the so-called Caring Place.

If Grover Telford, Cherryl Katnich and Nick Blomley think this is acceptable social behaviour and is above criticism, they would find themselves in a very small minority in our neighbourhood.

My solution is simple: move the Caring Place to an area where it is not imposing itself on an established residential neighbourhood.

Sandy Macdougall

Maple Ridge

 

So far we have not lived up to a high standard

Editor, The News:

Re: Scrooge not a fan of the Caring Place (Letters, Sept. 28).

Here’s a thought D. Ferguson and Sandy Macdougall and anyone else wanting to get rid of this so-called human detritus: why don’t we build large compounds hundreds of miles from civilization and enclose them with barbed wire and we could tattoo numbers on them so we can better keep track of them if they happen to escape.

Granted, this is nothing new and has been tried before by Hitler and Stalin.

But we could give the care centres less ominous names than Gulags and death camps because those names have such a negative context.

Seriously, if you want to blame someone for this horrible situation, do not blame Bob Goos or the Salvation Army Caring Place or any other organization that is only trying to help an ever-worsening human tragedy that we see or close our eyes to every day.

There are many reasons for people being homeless: 40 per cent of the homeless are either mentally or physically handicapped; the unemployment rate is seven per cent, so the real number is closer to 14 per cent; about 20 per cent are working, but don’t make enough to eat and have a roof over their heads; also, the average family is three weeks away from bankruptcy; and if the worst happens, the simple fact is that if you aren’t lucky enough to have a family or friends that you can live with until you can turn things around, you end up on the street.

In the 1980s, there were probably 600 homeless in Greater Vancouver, and most of them were in Vancouver.

By the beginning of the ’90s, they were everywhere – Kerrisdale, Burnaby, Coquitlam and, yes, Maple Ridge.

In the mid 1980s, the B.C. government was shutting down mental and care homes all over the province, places such as Essondale and smaller facilities with the promise to open smaller less-institution-like facilities, a promise they never kept.

So all over B.C., they would take people out of these care homes, take them to the bus depot give them $20 dollars and send them to Vancouver, where they ended up living in the streets or on my bus.

I can tell many sad stories about these poor unfortunates who should have been under someone’s care other than a bus driver.

Needless to say, I have seen many things I would rather not have over the years.

A healthy soul can extend itself, put itself in the place of another person’s experiences. From that comes wisdom and compassion.

If you want to blame someone for this untenable tragedy, blame the governments who failed to live up to their promises of positive change, and, yes, blame yourself for letting them get away with their lies, deceptions, and yes outright malfeasance.

As always, it is about money. But a civilization is judged by how its members take care of the sick, the old, in other words the helpless, less unfortunate of any population and so far we have certainly have not lived up to a very high standard.

Wayne Clark

Maple Ridge