Sunday, December 24, 2023
The Discomfort of Homelessness
Sadly times have changed. I don't carry cash any more. So does that mean beggars go without? A former coworker of mine wrote a moving song about a fiddler on a Gastown street. Drug addiction has become much more invasive and pan handling has become much more aggressive. Homeless camps have become cesspools of crime and violence. There is no joy to be found in them. So where does someone go when they're homeless or just down on their luck?
The drug dealers exploitation of the homeless is cruel and barbaric. I remember the Janice Shore story. Allowing that exploitation to continue is not compassion, it is complacency and evil. If you're homeless you need to leave the DTES. Yet that's where the food lines and support services are so it is indeed a viscous cycle of exploitation and misery.
Christianity speaks at great lengths about feeding the poor, clothing the naked and housing the homeless. Yet Christianity is certainly not about promoting crime and Communism. Christianity is about freedom and compassion. As Martin Luther King taught you can't have one without the other. I must admit my compassion for violent criminals has worn thin. Yet my compassion for the homeless who are being exploited by the criminals remains.
Building more rental units is the solution to the housing crisis. Build, build, build - rental units. For 30 years everyone has been obsessed with making a quick buck from all that free money buying homes and flipping them to make a profit. The high cost of housing has been exasperated by money laundering from organized crime after they cracked down on casinos.
CBC put out a timely article about a stockbroker who went from riches to rags and ended up homeless and how he bounced back. Anything can happen in a New York minute.
Ginny Burton was a former drug addict who turned her life around and speaks out against harm reduction in favor of drug treatment. If we sincerely care about drug addicts we will have a desire to lift them out of their slavery. Yet the simple point of this post is the fact that homelessness is very uncomfortable and a lot of people right now are suffering.