Challenge yourself

Dealing with homelessness will take some effort

A challenge: try to find places to live for the scant homeless we do have here in District 69.

Sounds like an easy job — after all, Oceanside has only around a dozen people considered homeless, if local social workers are to be believed. Surely if we put all of our resources into the task, solutions can be found. Perhaps jobs, perhaps just a simple place for them to call home. Twelve people to take care of. It doesn’t seem like a difficult job.

Yet, this part of mid-Vancouver Island comes off too often as reluctant to lend a hand. There’s only a few homeless, so many people find them easy to ignore. It’s not that big of a problem here.

Wrong attitude. If we have the capability, what’s keeping us from helping the situation?

Certainly, there have been inroads — such as Parksville’s dedication of land for a Habitat for Humanity house for a local family. Groups like the Lions Club, too, have been building places to live for people with little to no real income.

However, when it comes to real affordable housing projects, the area comes up short.

Parksville city council just rejected such a plan at the old Post and Lantern hotel and most so-called affordable housing being built today is still in the $300,000 range. Affordable for some, yes. For others, not so much.

Social housing is hard to come by and the reaction such ideas get is typically: ‘Not in my backyard.’ Most people, it appears, would rather not think about this issue.

So, the challenge then is to stop ignoring the homeless of Oceanside. Put our heads together and find a creative solution to provide people with a hand up  if they want to take us up on that offer.

Reach out to the local homelessness task force, Mana Ministries, the Society of Organized Services, Salvation Army, even the municipalities with your ideas. Challenge others to do the same.   — editorial by Steven Heywood


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