Stop pointing at Maple Ridge’s The Caring Place

The 'get rid-of-them mentality" towards down and out has to stop

Editor, The News:

Re: We care, but where’s the accountability of Caring Place? (Letters, Oct. 26).

I have to say that this ‘get rid of them’ mentality needs to stop.

I do admit I was like the rest of you and I wanted the Caring Place gone, but something in me had to see for myself and not have my opinion formed by what I read in the paper.

So I took it upon myself to go in and have a look and ask questions. I couldn’t believe all the familiar faces I saw and unaware of the financial strain they were under, all the seniors who can barley afford their rents that come for meals.

So I decided to stay and talk with the people. The majority stated that if it weren’t for the Caring Place, they wouldn’t be able to eat.

I asked about the shelter and found out that it is a small part of the Salvation Army organization.

I also found out that it makes around 115 lunches for our local school children who wouldn’t necessarily have a healthy lunch or a lunch at all, otherwise.

I found out a lot of the success stories by just speaking with the people, and granted there will always be the bad seed, but from my own personal standpoint, my eyes were opened and I was ashamed that I was one of the ignorant ones out there.

I encourage others to visit the Caring Place.

I think the government needs to step up and build more affordable housing. Rents are increasing, as are food costs, but wages aren’t, and this is the reason we are seeing the homeless population grow.

This isn’t because the Caring Place is here. It is doing all it can to help those who need it.

Also, it is a myth that people are bused to the Caring Place from outside our community, so please stop being ignorant and pointing fingers and forming all  little ‘hate’ groups, because we are wrong.

R. Watson

Maple Ridge

 

Band together

Editor, The News:

Enough of this ‘bashing’ of the Caring Place.

Why is it that people in society want to blame all the ills on the very people who cannot help themselves?

In the nearly 30 years that I have lived in this community, there have been homelessness and indigent people.

There would be more, if it weren’t for the efforts of the Salvation Army.

Many are helped by the Caring Place and it is unfortunate that a few are unable to be helped.

Better we band together as a society to help those less fortunate than ourselves, rather than this NIMBY syndrome.

I challenge you all to enter into a monthly donation ‘giving program’ with the Caring Place (and receive a Income Tax receipt for your donation).

I know that it will increase any services to our community and that is one small step in making ours a better place to live.

As Jesus said:  “As you do unto others you do also unto me.”

Jean Ruttan

Maple Ridge

 

WASAMBY

Editor, The News:

Re: Not afraid to say it: the Caring Place must go (Letters, Oct. 17).

It seems like such a short time ago that John McKenzie was in a letter war with various people who hold Christian beliefs about the validity of religion.

For this reason I was surprised to see him site Jesus as an example of compassion that is missing from the downtown discussion.

As fun as it would be to get that argument going again, the more pressing issue seems to be the sanctimonious tone used against anyone who dares question whether the problems in the downtown should be addressed.

It appears that if one dares to question the validity of social programs, not based out of the downtown community, but rather foisted upon it, they are now on the moral low ground and lack compassion for other people.

This call for compassion seems to be very one-sided.

Are residents of the downtown core not also deserving of some compassion?

As opposed to those who work for these agencies, the residents of downtown feel the effect of these agencies, the good and the bad, every day.  No days off, no weekends off, no holidays.  This is where we live.

When an agency is closed or the worker is not on shift, they go home. This is our home, so we deal with this situation every day, regardless if we have just worked eight or 10 hours, or six days a week. We have no choice, and when downtown residents speak up, it is met with responses that we need to be more compassionate.

Then there are those who use these facilities. No doubt some are in need and in extreme cases, desperate need of the assistance offered. Let’s hope they get it, but at what point do residents get to say that we need a break too?

We need a little compassion, as well. We need time to decompress from our day and deal with our issues, both personal and professional. When you come home and there is at times a gong show in almost every direction, what are we, as downtown residents, supposed to do?

I guess just dig a little deeper for some more compassion. I’m getting close to being done with digging. The shovel is damaged and my back is a wreck.

The fact is that downtown residents have just as much on their plates as the rest of the city, but we get the added responsibility of numerous social service agencies, addiction counselling services, on-going transient populations and no say in how any of this is run.  We’re supposed to keep our mouths shut and be compassionate.  Speak up and you’re a NIMBY – I believe that is the term the Salvation Army worker used in a prior article.

Well, I’ll attempt to enter a new acronym in the urban dictionary: WASAMBY – Wanting A Say About My Back Yard.

Tyler Ducharme

Maple Ridge

 

Time for action

Editor, The News:

Re: Time for Sally Ann to find new home (The News, Oct. 10).

One of my critics has rightfully suggested it’s time to tone down the rhetoric concerning the Caring Place, but I think it’s also time for Mayor Ernie Daykin and his council to take meaningful action.

Haney’s downtown area is the result of too many land-use decisions being made without vision spanning the past few decades.

Maple Ridge mayors and councils dating back to the 1970s have lusted after commercial, industrial and residential growth without the slightest regard for social planning or where our rapid growth was leading us.

What has emerged is not a very attractive picture.

As one example, take the Haney Place Mall, which was touted as a major coup by councils of the day (and, yes, I was a member of those councils). In my opinion, which I have stated many times over the years, it has always been an ugly island of bricks in a sea of asphalt. It relates to very little around it and has never lived up to its original promise to provide cohesiveness in the core. No thought was ever given to social planning issues that could result from this development.

Over the years, we have surrounded the core with subdivision after subdivision of single-family residences on postage-stamp-sized lots. Successive municipal councils have striven to densify the core with multiple-family projects, but little or no thought has been devoted to social planning.

Have all the elected officials and their high-priced help thought the ongoing rapid growth would take care of its own social development without proper planning?

Prostitution, drug offences, minor and major thefts and other social ills are a very predictable result of that kind of reckless growth and development.

Although I have been quite vocal about the Caring Place, I recognize the need for its existence. What I remain opposed to is its location at the edge of an established residential area.

Municipal council, in conjunction with the provincial and federal governments, should seek a long-term, socially acceptable solution to the problems generated by our historical lack of social planning.

In first article, Mayor Daykin is quoted as saying he hasn’t heard of any major problems at the Maple Ridge Baptist Church. I find that quite strange as it was Mayor Daykin who personally told me on two separate occasions that maintenance people were always finding drug paraphernalia and used condoms in the church and parking lot. Maybe his memory is failing him.

Sandy Macdougall

Maple Ridge

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