I have recently seen a number of posts online from South Delta residents discussing interactions with people experiencing homelessness in our community.
I was extremely disheartened to see that many were saying that these people must have come from elsewhere in Metro Vancouver and that we don’t have a homeless population here. Not only that, but a number of people were saying that these people must not be homeless at all, and that they are actually scammers preying on our community. Where is the compassion? Where is the acceptance? South Deltans love to preach that we are welcoming to all in our community, but I am definitely not seeing it here.
This got me thinking about where homeless people in our community could go for help, and after some research, I concluded that there really are not many places people in tough situations can go. There’s only a single shelter, the Ladner United Church, and only one or two crisis centres.
Instead of trying to push these people out and send them “back where they came from” (as some people were suggesting online), shouldn’t we as a city take a proactive approach and increase services for these people? If we don’t want to end up with a South Delta ‘tent city’ (again mentioned by someone online), shouldn’t we put the framework in so people don’t resort to having to live in a tent somewhere?
Over and over I’m seeing our city go the wrong direction when it comes to things like this. We can’t just keep turning a blind eye to all of this and say that we don’t have that problem here. Enough is enough. Something has to be done, and people’s perceptions of these marginalized populations must change.