LETTER: Chronic homelessness must be made a priority

LETTER: Chronic homelessness must be made a priority

The column by Mr. Fletcher (Oak Bay News, Oct. 24) caught my attention both for it’s level of anger and vitriol and for a lack of compassion. Some of his anger is justified as many of us have been frustrated by the numerable attempts at housing “homeless” people, including the escalating costs associated with this process.

But to describe these individuals as “our new generation of wasted street people, mostly feral males, left to raise themselves in a culture that worships, sex, violence, drugs and rock and roll” is neither accurate, respectful nor helpful. These people are human beings who are and were raised in our society and are a reflection of our culture. The root causes of homelessness, addictions, mental health issues are too numerous to be listed here but surely include poverty, broken homes, deinstitutionalization of mental health facilities without the concomitant social supports, a proliferation of prescription opiod drugs issued carelessly over a long period of time, physical and sexual abuse.

However, it is to be understood in our society that rights also come with responsibilities which must be taken seriously and efforts made to take actions to mitigate circumstances where possible. We cannot tolerate increasing lawlessness where people feel unsafe on our streets, unprotected in their homes, faced with constant threats and demands. Our politicians must also take serious steps to make chronic homelessness a priority.

If Black Press is genuinely concerned, I ask them to publish respectful, informative commentary reflecting the many aspects of these issues and possible solutions. And not continue opinion pieces such as Mr. Fletcher’s.

Mike and Ann Wilmut

Victoria