Must not look at homeless with fear

Yesterday I came across a young woman writhing in agony on the sidewalk on one of our streets.

Must not look at homeless with fear

A former member of Duncan city council recently wrote you on the topic of homelessness in our community. Citing a “wave of homeless people” threatening to engulf us, she advised against helping people who are homeless. Instead, she said, help organizations doing the work of addressing homelessness. Keep the help at arm’s length. I believe her analysis is flawed and harmful.

Yesterday I came across a young woman writhing in agony on the sidewalk on one of our streets. When I stopped to check on her a wave of laughter emanated from the deck of a local drinking establishment. I turned to see a crowd of young people observing her plight with evident joy. Reminding them that they were looking at another human being didn’t seem to have much effect.

Like the people on that deck, I believe the former councilor sees people who are homeless more as objects than as humans. She seems to live in fear while portraying people who are homeless as highly successful system users who prey on others’ good will. In speaking out of fear while adding to unhelpful and untrue stereotypes, she is not helping our community get to solutions.

There is another way. Instead of living in threat and fear, we can see ourselves as part of a different community. One in which all people can find care, acceptance, nurture and love. Part of a Warmland, peopled by warm-hearted, loving folk. Working towards housing people who are homeless because it is how we want to be known in the world. As Delightful, Dedicated, Determined Duncan. The place that solved homelessness by holding everyone in the light of love.

If we wish to change the way we are seen in the world, we must change the way we are being in the world.

Keith Simmonds


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