Homelessness and beyond

My grandson’s Quamichan middle school can’t afford a cafeteria

Homelessness and beyond

In urban areas in the U.S. and Canada, homelessness has skyrocketed by as much as 50 per cent in the last two years. Oakland, Ca. is a prime example, as well as small cities like ours, and the huge Vancouver problem. When you start to go into the US suburbs and urban sprawl, much of it is White flight where the prices dictate demographics; people running away from people, which we find at different levels in different regions, but always prevalent in some capacity just about everywhere.

I have to admit on traveling through California regularly in the late 90s and early 2000s, the appearance of places like “rest stops” was shocking. For example: it’d be typical to see hundreds of transient Mexican workers spending the night there in what seemed like encampments. While moving, driving a moving van and trailer, we were swamped by migrants looking for work. So we are not untouched by the situation.

Not being used to seeing such conditions, it was shocking and scary. Our ignorance drove the fear. It took a moment, but these were people just trying to survive, not criminals. We then began to understand and the fear was replaced with compassion. There wasn’t anything we could do to help them, but we weren’t going to allow ourselves to be prejudiced against them; always on guard, as with all day-to-day activities, but never with prejudice.

Affordable housing projects are in an almost “panic building” stage right here in our relatively small community. Duncan has a small population of 5,000, but is a central hub for businesses and public services. Its geographical location is a gore point on the main highway, always a controversy in conversation because of the traffic problems.

My grandson’s Quamichan middle school can’t afford a cafeteria or even a designated place to have a lunch. Kids eat wherever they can find a spot, which might be standing or sitting in the hallway. McD’s, about a five-minute hustle down the road, becomes a madhouse at lunchtime. That’s right, kids eat junk food for lack of other facility. If you pack a lunch, only a couple of teachers allow “in the classroom” lunch breaks. It’s actually an horrendous situation, but McDs is laughing all the way to the bank, a metaphor for almost all corporate businesses. Seventy-five per cent of all greenhouse gases are produced by about 20 corporations, like Exxon-Mobil and Raytheon. The information is at your fingertips on your phone or laptop.

In the meantime, a percentage of our public school allocated taxes goes to private schools in one form or another. Ever notice, the ruling classes never allow benefits to the rank and file without getting a piece of the action? Often, they get the lions share while the rest fight for the scraps. It’s been sophisticated through the financial system, but “cold”, “hungry”, and “homeless” has always meant the same anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

I would venture to say that most normal individuals would be appalled at the public school conditions within the Duncan area if they had to spend just one day in that environment.

Daniel Ferreira

Duncan/NC

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