Banning homeless?

Thank you for the article “Tent ban developed” about Parksville city council’s efforts to deter people from sleeping in parks.

Thank you for the informative article “Tent ban developed” in Tuesday’s edition of The NEWS about Parksville city council’s efforts to deter homeless people from sleeping in parks. I wonder though, is this proposed tent ban a knee-jerk reaction from council? Is this the only solution? Where did the $166,320 that was given to the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness go?

The $166,320 was supposed to address homelessness in the entire District 69 region, but apparently the task force only focused on Parksville. Why not also in Errington or Coombs where it’s well known there is homelessness too?

The Oceanside Homelessness Task Force counted homeless people in Parksville in 2011 and in 2013 and produced one 24-page report in 2014, of which, only three pages address housing.

What has this money been spent on — consultants and staff? Homeless counts are usually done by volunteers in other cities. Why is there no accounting on the task force’s website showing exactly what the money has been spent on?

Is Parksville council’s proposed tent ban in parks supposed to help the homeless? Council appears to be abandoning the needs of homeless people so as to protect our parks at night (when they’re not being used) and forcing people onto Parksville’s streets and back lanes. Is this helpful to anyone?

We have local, hands-on agencies like Manna that are actually out there providing homeless people with concrete support like food and housing (e.g. buying up old motor homes to provide accommodation). This is the kind of smart, out-of-the-box thinking and leadership that should be applauded and supported with funding.

The Oceanside Task Force  on Homelessness should be asked to publicly account for what it has done with the $166,320 and Parksville council should be doing some broader thinking before resorting to hasty, ill-conceived actions like a ban on tenting in parks. What’s next, a ban on living?

Joan SampsonQualicum Beach

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