Lack of compassion, ignorance real danger to the community

Warmland staff and the CMHA-CVB should be commended for the work they do

Lack of compassion, ignorance real danger to the community

I want to respond to the errors and histrionics contained in Mr. Woodruff’s March 17 letter to the editor.

Warmland House and Outreach is not a business. It is a temporary shelter and resource for people in the Cowichan Valley experiencing homelessness and suffering from poverty, mental illness, disabilities, addiction and other debilitating medical conditions. These problems are not unique to the Cowichan Valley.

The local government does not spend millions “trying to control and clean up after these people”. If there were such spending on behalf of our most vulnerable population, we likely wouldn’t have residents sleeping on the streets or in under-funded, overcrowded temporary shelters. And just who are “these people”? Do you mean your fellow human beings? The most vulnerable people in your community?

Dedicated Warmland staff and the people they serve work together daily renting bins to gather and dispose of litter in a timely, sanitary way. Mr. Woodruff, you are welcome to volunteer your time to help with these clean-up efforts. Lots of community-minded people do.

Finally, there is no evidence that any Warmland staff policies and practices contribute to a “clear and present health danger” to clients or residents — quite the contrary. The staff go to extraordinary lengths to establish and maintain sanitary conditions to benefit clients and safeguard the health of the broader community. Warmland strives to provide clean beds, nutritious meals, hot showers, free soap, shampoo, toothpaste, towels and clean clothes for this vulnerable and growing population. Imagine the effort it takes to provide all of these resources and services every single day. Now imagine these services delivered with care and compassion. Warmland staff and the CMHA-CVB should be commended for the work they do in the community. Instead, they are regularly criticized and bullied publicly by people like you.

For all the Mr. Woodruffs out there, you are entitled to your opinions, free to criticize others’ efforts and at the end of the day, you can sleep in a warm bed. What moves our community forward, however, is informed opinion, action versus complaining and compassion as opposed to ignorance.

Doug Thornton

Cowichan Bay

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