Salomons: A place to lay your head

Salomons: A place to lay your head

“Don’t you people have a home to go to?” This came from a frustrated store owner trying to rid his store of loiterers.

Even on the streets you will sometimes hear the same comments from people who often feel like they are the ones that have to move over for street dwellers.

The sad truth is that for many of these folks on the street, they don’t have a home. For a whole variety of reasons, they are without the amenities you and I enjoy, and I must admit sometimes take for granted.

I have, over the past several years of writing this column, given many of the reasons that these good folks are without a home or a lot of the other things we enjoy, so I shouldn’t have to go over them again; but I will spell out a few to emphasize my point.

Minimum wage and mental conditions no matter how slight are the most common reasons, but then there are those who through addictions are homeless. Deserved — some will tell you, but not if we take a closer look.

For most, bunking with someone else works for a while until there is a conflict. With addictions there usually is. For the rest they will find some kind of sheltered area in which to crash, even if for only a few hours; lobbies, doorways, stairwells, any spot where they can lay down. You can always see where they slept because they leave their drug paraphernalia wherever they were.

Alcoholics just keep drinking until they pass out. They usually are past the point of caring, so, you will find them almost anywhere, no shelter needed.

The question remains, do we help by trying to save their lives, or just let nature take its course?

A person on the street with no home, and an addiction, will have one primary focus in mind; feed the addiction. That usually will take up every waking moment of their day; the urge is that strong. Anyone who thinks that if ignored, the problem will go away. It’s not going to happen. The sooner we realize that, the closer we can be to some helpful solutions.

Enter Housing First, a partial solution with excellent results. The idea behind this concept is that if people are permanently housed they will change, which now has proven to be true. Even here in Red Deer we have seen the results. You see, a permanently housed alcoholic, after a short while, will consume much less simply because he is not anxious about where his next drink will come from. When a drug addict always knows he has a place to sleep, he will also reduce his usage.

Not that there aren’t problems associated with this reduction attempt; the project requires 24/7 supervision, for security and constant need for counselling. Just because the person may use less, their mental and emotional issues remain and have to be dealt with.

Any monies that these folks receive goes to agencies that provide this type of housing; first the rent comes out of it and then they are given the rest. In some cases the balance is doled out to them at intervals, but it has to be with their consent. This assures that they have money available for longer periods of time.

Whether this is the best solution or not, it is a tremendous step towards harm reduction, and one that has been proven to work. This is the type of help we should be leaning towards.

At least these good people who have gone awry have a place to lay their heads.

Chris Salomons is kitchen co-ordinator for Potter’s Hands ministry in Red Deer.

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Pastor, candidate under restraining order arrested for allegedly breaking COVID laws

CALGARY — A Calgary mayoral candidate who is under a restraining order… Continue reading

Pro-Palestinian protesters run from police following a demonstration in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Tensions flare at Israel-Palestinian demonstrations in Montreal, Toronto

Tensions ran high at competing demonstrations over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in both… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, then-vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. An expert in military affairs says the sudden departure of the  general in charge of Canada's vaccine rollout is unlikely to have any impact on the high-profile program. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canada to get 4.5M vaccine doses as questions swirl around immunization effort

OTTAWA — Canada is set to receive a large infusion of COVID-19… Continue reading

Israelis take cover as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
Israeli strikes hit Gaza tunnels as diplomats work for truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli military unleashed a wave… Continue reading

John Guise is seen at 4 weeks and one day after his birth, weighing two pounds and three ounces, in hospital in Hamilton, Ont., in an Aug. 1 1979, handout photo. Canadian researchers who've tracked a group of men who were born prematurely at a weight of less than one kilogram are finding they tend to age more quickly than male babies who aren't born prematurely. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-John Guise, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boys born prematurely and very small age faster as men, study suggests

Canadian researchers who tracked a group of men who were born prematurely… Continue reading

Calgary Flames players celebrate the team's overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Lindholm OT winner gives Flames 6-5 win over Canucks despite blowing four-goal lead

VANCOUVER — In a game with little to play for besides pride,… Continue reading

In this photo taken on May 13, 2021, Russia's performer, Manizha, smiles during an interview after rehearsing at the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands. For many, the stage and global television audience of millions is a chance to express messages of inclusion, strength and positivity. Manizha has a message of strength for women in her song whose lyrics include the lines: "Every Russian Woman. Needs to know. You're strong enough to bounce against the wall." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Eurovision Song Contest returns despite coronavirus pandemic

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Pounding beats? Check. Uplifting lyrics? Check. Huge, backlit… Continue reading

Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball to Italy's Lisa Pigato during their match at the Emilia Romagna Open tennis tournament, in Parma, Monday, May 17, 2021. Serena Williams earned her first victory in more than three months by beating 17-year-old qualifier Lisa Pigato 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Emilia-Romagna Open. Williams accepted a wild-card invitation for the Parma tournament after losing her opening match at the Italian Open last week. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)
Serena Williams posts 1st victory in more than 3 months

PARMA, Italy (AP) — Serena Williams earned her first victory in more… Continue reading

In this Oct. 21, 2014 file photo, people pass an AT&T store in New York's Times Square. AT&T will combine its media operations that include CNN HBO, TNT and TBS in a $43 billion deal with Discovery, the owner of lifestyle networks including the Food Network and HGTV. The deal announced Monday, May 17, 2021, would create a separate media company as households increasingly abandon cable and satellite TV, looking instead at Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
AT&T, Discovery join media brands as cord-cutting encroaches

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T will combine its massive media operations that… Continue reading

The Minnesota Wild celebrate their overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Eriksson Ek’s OT goal lifts Wild past Vegas 1-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime… Continue reading

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr., celebrates after hitting a double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Girardi, Segura have confrontation as Phils lose to Jays

Blue Jays 10 Phillies 8 DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The injury-depleted Philadelphia… Continue reading

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Palmieri’s OT winner lifts Isles by Penguins 4-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders brought Kyle Palmieri home at… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Fauci says pandemic exposed ‘undeniable effects of racism’

ATLANTA (AP) — The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the… Continue reading

Most Read