By Ryan Dahlman
When you say the phrase homeless people, it often brings feelings of uncertainty, uncomfortableness, disdain and sometime disgust. They are a thorn in the side of many of those who don’t want to look in the mirror or are so self-entitled because they haven’t had to face the most basic of adversities: pure survival.
The perception: they sit on street corners, highly dishevelled, and the thought is they deserve to be there because they got into drugs, are lazy, are criminal, or unintelligent.
The reality: they are human and for one reason or another, they found themselves struggling with basic existence and now they have no where to go because life has priced them out of the most basic of human necessities: food and shelter/a home.
We who have these basic necessities will complain that our car, house and whatever toys we have need to be updated instead of being happy. Worse yet, we turn our collective backs on those who are hurting.
And now we are bearing the fruit of this self indulgent, selfish mindset.
Tent communities are popping up in Lethbridge and city council is just now getting organized to investigate what to do. A plan to move a homeless shelter was axed after a complicated mixture of government red tape, lack of funding, lack of desired location/‘not in my neighbourhood attitude came to the forefront. Now there is a strong chance Medicine Hat will have no where for the homeless to go come the fall.
There seems to be growing issues everywhere.
The idea that people choose to beg, rummage through garbage, wonder where they are going to sleep the next because the want to be there seems a little bit of a stretch doesn’t it?
I pulled up to work early this morning in Medicine Hat and I see a a decently dressed guy (squash stereotype) carrying a large backpack you would use on an expensive hiking trip walking past the building.
Stops by the outside garbage can and rummages through it. He walks past me, says hello and carries on.
Doesn’t fit any stereotype.
The question is how do we rectify this? There isn’t enough high-enough paying jobs out there and now with wings of inflation starting to sound propel like a giant helicopter starting, there is going to be more issues.
The reason why there are jobs but no workers is because you cannot afford to live on what you are making. If you have a full time job and you are making minimum wage or just above, you can’t afford to live and you depend on food banks and second hand stores and garage sales for shopping for non food items.
It is not as simple as cutting back on luxuries, if you consider luxuries being food, electricity, water etc.
It is great that so many people have worked hard and achieved success but when you are standing alone, it is is kind of hallow.
It again comes down to empathy and mindset. If those in charge, have influence and power would just stop, put themselves in their shoes which happened the last time there was a major recession, perhaps we could figure it out. Affluence is fun while it lasts but those who know and are at the opposite end of wealthy will tell you, it can easily happen to everyone. We need to figure this out on how to bring costs down, get people contributing to society and get the balance of wealth more evened out. That tilt is getting worse and we’re all the worse for it.