City needs to re­place shel­ter for men

The Sudbury Star - - OPINION -

As I am writ­ing this let­ter, the city’s most vul­ner­a­ble men have now slept their last night in the Liv­ing Hope Cen­tre — warm, protected from the el­e­ments, on a mat­tress with a wash­room close by and peo­ple around to help.

Did they ac­tu­ally get rest that night? Highly un­likely. Their thoughts might have been con­sumed with fear, worry and anx­i­ety as they won­der where they’ll sleep now as the shel­ter run by the Sal­va­tion Army closed its doors per­ma­nently.

Our lo­cal govern­ment has some grandiose plans: a new arena, an­other casino and a con­ven­tion cen­tre, but no plan to pro­vide shel­ter for peo­ple who strug­gle to have their ba­sic needs met. This is very sad.

We don’t know their story, but guar­an­teed they have one that would break our hearts. We have com­pas­sion for chil­dren who are ne­glected, abused phys­i­cally and/or sex­u­ally, who don’t have food on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, but generally very lit­tle com­pas­sion or em­pa­thy for them once they’ve grown up.

They are not bums. They are not lazy, good for noth­ing peo­ple. Sure, we can tell them there are lots of jobs and tell them of the op­tions they have and how to sup­port them­selves in­stead of ex­pect­ing others to sup­port them. But that’s not the an­swer. They need sup­port, skills and, most of all, a be­lief in them­selves and hope.

I worked with many peo­ple who used the shel­ter and have heard a num­ber of their stories. Any one of us could be that per­son had we been born to dif­fer­ent par­ents and had to en­dure some of what they have had to.

City coun­cil needs to step up. We, as a com­mu­nity, need to step up and speak up for what’s right.

Me­lanie John­cox Sud­bury

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