We should not blame or punish our poor and weak.
We have seen where such thinking can lead, when so called undesirables are made scapegoats for society’s ills. We fought in the last world war because of such an agenda. And is this really the kind of society we want to live in today? If not, the thoughtful among us will ask, then where are we headed?
Many homeless were created when Riverview closed.
These citizens have no living skills. Others are escaping physical and sexual abuse. Some became homeless due to drug or alcohol problems, and some a combination.
With unemployment at 6.9% (national stats) job loss has entire families homeless and many only a paycheque away.
Hundreds of thousands are homeless across Canada, and hundreds in Abbotsford alone.
The Salvation Army has only 40 beds, maximum. Increasing government cutbacks, rising inflation, long waiting lists and few treatment facilities, lack of work, and not even close to enough suitable housing is the grim reality.
The issue is complex; but most homeless are simply people in despair. Many are educated and intelligent, who for whatever reason, cannot see a way out. Yet all are branded and further marginalized. Like a fly on the wall we want to brush them away because they will not go away. But go where?
Millions of dollars are spent on salaries, benefits and pensions; millions for sports arenas; millions for arts, theatre and entertainment; millions for Halloween mania; millions more on sports celebrities and stars.
So much money spent, mostly on frivolous things, yet there is no money for the homeless?
If we would treat them as fellow humans rather than invisible and disposable, we could at least provide them with the basic necessities of life.
If it were our son or daughter, we would sacrifice fashions, travel, amusements, mortgage our homes, anything to save them.
We would be outraged if they were mistreated.
In order to be a strong Canada we need to strengthen our weakest links. The problem of homelessness belongs to the nation, and if left unresolved, will eventually affect us all. And we will pay dearly.
We must work to foster love of justice.
Given our national debt, one day we could all find ourselves homeless. What then?
A. Rodenbush, Abbotsford