Big increase stems from women escaping abuse, families and the elderly in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Rise in vulnerably people attributed to government cuts and lack of affordable housing

Robin Ccampbell

Special to The NEWS

We are just heading into the fall/winter season which is always a difficult time for those who live on the street or survive hand to mouth.

The Parksville Qualicum Beach community has been generous and we couldn’t provide this service without it. We felt our numbers had peaked last year and it could not get busier, but to our surprise many new faces started showing up this year from long term residents to people passing through. We have seen an increase in families, the elderly and women running from abusive situations.

The largest increase has been families and the elderly of our community. Manna found themselves relocating women to safe houses outside our community due to the increase in numbers in other agencies. The Oceanside RCMP have been very compassionate as we have worked with them a number of times giving out tents, etc.

Because of the drought, odd jobs such as cutting grass or landscaping are not available for some of our clients.

There has also been an increase in drug-related problems where we work with individuals as well as families suffering from the effects of additions. Government cutbacks are becoming very evident when working with the vulnerable. I saw an individual with multiple physical and mental health issues take up to nine months to finally be placed on a disability pension. This person suffered physically and emotionally to get through this trying time. Unfortunately, our system is a failure for the less fortunate so we need to continue to help these people to the best of our ability.

The lack of affordable housing is a huge problem. Manna feels the brunt of this, therefore we are need of more tents and tarps, sleeping bags, warm coats, gloves and hats and emergency food supplies for the upcoming winter season. Manna will provide short-term help for extreme cases by providing money for a motel room until we can get people placed in something adequate.

Manna’s bike program has been very successful in our  community and we are in need of good bikes to keep the program going. If anyone has a bike they are not using that is in good shape we want it. A bike can be a life changer for the less fortunate.

Attitude is everything and we still deal with the public who are have a hard heart and say we are nothing but a bandage for those people,  but we continue to tell our critics that in some cases a bandage is needed to stop the bleeding so healing can begin.

There is no one solution to the problems of the less fortunate in Parksville Qualicum Beach, but with the community’s continued help we will continue to serve the less fortunate seven days a week with 100 per cent volunteer help and  with all gifts and money going directly to the less fortunate.

Please remember those in need as the weather gets wetter and temperatures dip down during the long nights. For more information about the Manna Homeless Society, please call 250-248-0845. All financial donations are tax deductible and can be sent to Box 389, Errington, B.C. V0R 1V0

— Robin Campbell is the co-founder of the Manna Homeless Society.

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