I have been proud to be a citizen of Red Deer for a very long time, but I am saddened and disappointed at our city council who chose to close the temporary shelter over the welfare and lives of our most vulnerable, homeless people who are in a desperate situation.
People who are experiencing homelessness know that nobody wants them. I am sure that if you knew that nobody wanted you, you would feel some bitterness as well and propel you into survival mode.
I listened to the entire public presentation portion of a recent city council meeting and I was so hoping that there would be constructive discussion about solutions to the issue but pretty much what I heard from everybody except the doctors and charitable organizations was get these people out of here.
It seems that wisdom is the ability to see more than simply our own perspective.
I was hoping that the collective wisdom of the council would explore some problem solving avenues. I was also hoping to hear some compassion, understanding, and bigger hearts.
I heard the frustration from business people as they feel their businesses are threatened and yes you have a right to safely run a business but homeless people also have a right to the basic necessities of life.
Two councillors thought that Safe Harbour should be accountable for other people’s behaviour. I say everyone must be accountable for their own behaviour. This is the same agency that goes above and beyond to keep people safe.
What if all sides met with a sincere optimism that a win-win solution could be found. And the homeless population should be represented at the table. Let’s not feel that we can ignore people and that we have the right to make decisions for others. This happens constantly with the aged, homeless, people of colour, and minorities, like they don’t mater. But in my book all lives matter.
I would like to challenge everyone to visualize what it would be like if some catastrophic event or events happened that resulted in leaving you on the street. Think of what you would like to see happen and what would help you the most. And if homelessness didn’t happen to you, could this be happening to your son, daughter, mother, or father?
Mary Gardiner, Red Deer