If we did empathize just a little we would be doing more to assist with placing people into better situations, says letter writer. NEWS BULLETIN file

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Empathy needs to be shown

The majority of homeless people do not decide to live that kind of lifestyle

To the editor,

Re: People who are homeless need Nanaimo’s compassion, Letters, March 6.

Enough is enough. The majority of homeless people do not decide to live that kind of lifestyle. Many have some sort of mental illness or other trauma that have forced them onto this path. Society has not been duped into feeling sorry for this group of people. If we did empathize just a little we would be doing more to assist with placing people into better situations than forcing them into our schools, streets, and wherever they may feel safe for the short time.

Yes, criminal activities do relate to this lifestyle. For many it is only to survive. The criminal activity can be curbed for this group of citizens if we as a society stop smothering them with stigmas.

I and many like me work to assist some of these individuals with building steps to heal surface, and sometimes internal ailments. The majority of the efforts I have witnessed have been very positive while in our care. Unfortunately after our care, many revert back to the negative surrounding that we as a society force them back into. Lack of affordable housing, emotional support, and employment has placed a crutch amongst this group of citizens.

As a civilization we have survived and thrived only because we have taken care of each other. When we finally decide some lives are worth more than others that is when we cease to exist.

Darren Lee, Nanaimo

To the editor,

Re: Homelessness spreads onto school grounds, Feb. 27.

The article published clearly emphasizes, with fewer reservations – thank goodness – the threat and urgency of concern that Canada, its communities and municipal leadership, police, and the citizens of Nanaimo and its schoolchildren face due to increasing drug use by others in the community. The irresponsible practices with risk of injury to children, the associated crime, and visible mental health issues.

These must be dealt with separately from homelessness which only handicaps our efforts to find solutions to both problems. To combine drug use and homelessness together will not reach a solution. Many handicapped by addictive behavour need in-care medical facilities until well enough to join society again. Not to be left lying on streets, in parks, school grounds and arenas to cause themselves and society increasing damage and injury, further illness, and crime.

Likewise, the homeless without self-support need concerted agency help, and encouragement to find, or create for themselves job opportunities our federal government currently speaks of to better equip themselves for low-cost accomodation and housing.

Society cannot afford squatting and misuse of city, or rural areas leading to permanent slum conditions, infestation, health issues and early aging through outside exposure to burden our already overused hospitals and medical services, as well as the crime we already observe in third world countries with these same problems. This will lead to social unrest and a breakdown in this society, unless faced, which may have already started if one is to observe more seriously, these growing concerns facing us.

Alan Miller, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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