Only as grim as the media wants to portray it
The CBC headline "Homeless people left to fend for themselves amid extreme-cold warning, advocates say" is not warranted by the content of the article. The writer seems to confuse people who don't/can't live inside four walls year-around, with the number of cold weather beds.
I volunteer at a cold weather shelter in our downtown, and it is never full. We have room for 30 men and women, and on the coldest nights of last week (wind chill down to -26C/-15F), we had at most about 25 places filled -- even with the local help agency and police bringing us additional clients throughout the evening.
We offer them an evening supper, washing their clothes, recharging their phones, replacement clothing, hotpocket hand warmers, and a place to sleep from 8pm to 7:30am. In the morning, clients are bused to Salvation Army for breakfast, and then they are allowed to hang out there for a time afterwards. During the day, the old tourism building is a day shelter against the cold.
Hearing the head of a local homeless advocacy group speak unfiltered by the media tells me he knows the difference: There will always be those who refuse to live inside four walls. All we can do is offer them a place when the weather is bad, and even that cannot be forced on them.
But they are never left to fend for themselves. And advocates are not saying that.
One of my brothers is one of those who will not live inside.
He's been offered a brand new suite in condo towers for the "homeless" a number of times over the years, but prefers the mental and emotional peace he finds sleeping outside a church in the upper middle class area we grew up in as kids.
I visit him every couple of days at a predetermined time and place to give him his allowance of funds to keep him fed and with smokes. With the recent very cold weather in Vancouver, there were a couple of times my fear of not seeing him alive arose thinking he might have not made it through the frigid night, but he showed up with no mention of the cold. He's 74 years old so he's done well to live this way for decades.
He's labelled as being homeless, but, in reality, his home is what we call the outside.
Posted by: A Subsciber | Jan 12, 2022 at 08:08 PM