Shelter solutions

If we don’t act as a community, how can we look anyone in the eye and say ‘ Merry Christmas’?

I stepped outside last week and thought: brrrr, feels like snow. My second thought was for the homeless. How do they stay warm with all this rain, damp, cold sleeping bags, wet socks, wet shoes, no heat?

Everyone has talked about what we should do, what needs to be done, but the temperature is dropping now.

Our local shelter houses the needy during the cold nights and that is a blessing, but they are out on the street again in the early morning. Where can they go?

I look at all these pop-up shelters for our cars and think one of those with a heater and a few lawn chairs could go a long way helping those who are freezing.

I looked into boot dryers. Wet feet are horrible during the winter. For $100 we could help fix that.

With just a few donations we can make a difference now. We need donated space, two portable restrooms, a heater, some chairs (picnic table?), electricity (an extension cord?) and maybe a pot of coffee sitting in a corner along with a lamp. Oh, and let’s throw in a deck of cards.

Old pallets and plywood on the floor would help keep the heat in. Anyone tearing houses apart could put some wood to the side for this. We could have an old fashioned  shelter-raising.

This could also be a place to go to hire extra help putting up Christmas lights, shoveling snow, getting that new roof on, because as we all know, you don’t get anything for nothing.

Burnaby had this program of ‘day help.’  The employer paid each person at the end of the day for the hours worked (in 1982 it was $5/hour.) There’s nothing wrong with people taking responsibility for their lives. I believe it was healthy.

So instead of waiting for someone to do something, shouldn’t we look to ourselves? Yes, it’s a temporary solution, but it’s better than shaking our heads as we drive past these poor souls to go shopping.

If we don’t act as a community, how can we look anyone in the eye and say ‘ Merry Christmas’?

Elaine Thompson

Parksville

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