Having compassion for the homeless doesn’t mean you can’t be annoyed by having to clean this up every day. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Having compassion for the homeless doesn’t mean you can’t be annoyed by having to clean this up every day. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Editorial: Compassion for homeless doesn’t mean mess OK

It’s reasonable to have sympathy for the homeless but not want to wipe up human feces every morning.

The Citizen’s July 28 front page story about an employee speaking up about a business’s dumpsters being routinely raided and the problem of people sleeping in the bins has received an interesting and varied response.

While some have been sympathetic to the employee, others seem to have interpreted her and other employees’ uneasiness at having to run the gauntlet after dark of people sleeping in the bins, shooting up behind the business, and her frustration at having to clean up again and again after their mess as evidence of a lack of compassion for the homeless.

That’s rather unfair in our view.

It’s perfectly reasonable to have sympathy for the homeless and their plight and still not want to have to wipe up human feces every morning. It’s not unreasonable, especially for a female worker, to find it creepy to be surprised in the dark by someone raiding or sleeping in the dumpster. There are any number of wonderful folks who, when drunk or high, become unpredictable.

Those who have lived on the street know just how dangerous it can be.

However the suggestion that perhaps there should be more public restrooms available 24 hours a day is well taken.

There will always be those who are too lazy to make a trek to a bathroom and will continue to defecate in corners and corners and dumpsters and the like, but we imagine many would use them if there were more of public toilets.

We can think of only two within the city that are available to the public throughout the night.

This is not just a problem for the homeless, but one Duncan and North Cowichan might want to think about for tourists as well.

But we digress.

This is not just a problem for the homeless, but one Duncan and North Cowichan might want to think about for tourists as well. But we digress.

We absolutely need to address all of the problems that lead to homelessness.

But that doesn’t mean that we have to just shut up in the meantime about having to clean up other people’s mess.

And we certainly don’t have to just pretend to be OK about conditions that make us feel unsafe.