I was brought up to believe that we are all in this thing called life together and that if we can work together we can find a cure for everything.
I am a part of a group that is trying to find temporary shelter for folks to find some comfort during the upcoming cold weather snap that is about to happen. Well, the funding is available from BC Housing, the services are available from the Lookout Society but the location is nowhere at this point. Temporary shelter from extreme weather conditions is what we are talking about.
I thought “love thy neighbour” meant helping the person next to you when help is needed. Millions of dollars are spent in this province rescuing pets from other countries and giving them a good place to be and there is a system that allows that to happen.
Why can’t we see it clear to not rescue a human being from the cold and wet? This is a really wealthy society we live in that has the capacity to help solve this part of homelessness. Most of us feel sad when we see it and then we blame it on the person or the government and expect them to fix the problem. When the government tries to locate a warming shelter people say, “Not in my back yard!”
I am afraid every level of government needs to step in and build a solution. Each level has a tool to help but it won’t be done by next week when the temperatures dip below zero.
So, find a piece of public land, put up a temporary shelter with some heat and supervise it day and night until the weather warms up. We sheltered people for a pandemic and it worked, why not cold weather? Let’s get it done!
And you know what, I am thinking this type of brave decision making will start to turn the corner on solving the entire issue. Let’s face it folks, we who complain the loudest are just a tad entitled.
I was once involved in a decision where 34 letters out of about 3,500 residents caused the turning down of a rezoning to accommodate a warming centre. The predominant reason why was it was the wrong location. Guess where the homeless hang out — 100 feet away from that location.
So let’s find a location and do it right and treat our human neighbours as good as our pets. Let’s do the right thing and not let a minority dictate what society needs to deal with. Doing nothing is not a solution to what I know you all feel is a problem and that problem does not seem to be going anywhere soon.
Bob K. Day
Cowichan Valley Resident