Homelessness

LETTER: Vernon has a profound lack of understanding

I read with great sadness the two letters in the Nov. 15 paper blaming homeless people for their predicament and I read with relief the one letter by M.J. Buffle suggesting a constructive and compassionate although stopgap solution.

Vernon is going to benefit from the housing initiative announced by the provincial government which should help with the situation but it will not help soften the attitudes of people who have learned to blame victims for their problems.

Huge social issues underlie the growing problem of homelessness: systemic manipulation of the housing market;, shortage of decent wage paying job opportunities; failures in the education system; historical neglect of those with mental health problems; predatory debt traps for those . who are struggling to stay afloat ; an economic system which rewards the rich who avoid taxes and blames the poor for “not paying their share”..

There is plenty of information about these issues if one chooses to educate oneself.

Above all there is a profound lack of understanding of the causes of drug addiction. I suggest reading anything you can find by Dr. Gabor Mate, who has spent his career working with the residents of the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. He will tell you that addiction is not a “choice”.

Robin LeDrew

Vernon

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