City needs to replace shelter for men
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