To the editor,
How disgraceful that the City of Nanaimo can spend a huge sum on a bike path in the downtown area but cannot find money to help the homeless, most of whom are ill and being denied their basic human rights. Since when has a bike path become more important than human life and suffering?
For two years we have been promised help is coming but I certainly don’t see anything useful happening. It’s now winter and so many people are cold,wet, hungry and in need of housing and medical aid.
Most homeless people are not out there by choice. Life can be hard, cruel and demoralizing and while the majority of us can rise above it, some, who are ill and unable to find help, give up trying. Hopelessness and despair set in and they become lost. Not ‘losers’ by society’s standards but lost by society’s neglect.
Please, Nanaimo, stop dilly-dallying and give these folks back some dignity, hope and self-respect.
Joyce Roth, Nanaimo
To the editor,
I’ve lived long enough to have seen men sitting and sleeping in alleys, on cardboard boxes, drinking cheap booze out of paper bags. The bags were the agreement with authorities to hide the alcohol from the public. They often died on the streets with very little government assistance or public outcry.
Times have changed. Food, money, clothing, often a opportunity for a bed on a cold night are now available; evidently that is the acceptable level of care for those in charge.
Addicts, some homeless, steal to fund their habit. Drug dealers live in their midst and thrive. Those who have mental illness stumble around town in a terrible state. Many die on the streets. Those arrested are often released on bail immediately to re-offend at will. That’s what they do, steal, it should be expected by the judge.
Time to house and treat, by warrant and legislation, and put public safety back as a priority. Businesses can no longer be ravished, the public should no longer be victims of crime. Yes, victims. The public, not the criminals and the sick.
The options are clear. Time for government to act. Clean drugs with treatment and mandatory housing and treatment for the mentally ill.
Mike Oliver, Nanaimo
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