Friday, May 18, 2007

Hard To Stomach

When dealing with the homeless, our society seems to be of the opinion that people are homeless because we give them a place to sleep at night. I've heard it in coffee shops and seen it in the news and read it in the papers - people complaining about the homeless in their area and wanting the law to move them on. So we move them on and we move them on but it really is 'same shit, different pile'. Mostly, we say to the homeless, "you can't stay here". People grouse about the increase in homelessness. But why are there more homeless? Why are they increasingly desperate? It couldn't be because of cut in social funding, the elimination of programs that really helped people who needed it, could it? Or the ridiculous rise in rents and lack of social housing? For 5 years, I worked with people who were considered barely employable in an extensive program designed to really give them the support they needed to be successful. Funny, in that time, I never met anyone who wanted to be on welfare. I heard stories that made me realize that the difference between me and 'them' was luck and a social network. It would break your heart to hear some of their stories. I was sickened to read in the paper that funding to the two shelters in Vernon was cut and their doors were closed. Now bylaw officers chase them around the city at night, moving them on from one place to the next. Telling them they can't stay there. Really, where can they stay? This whole tack is so illogical and so utterly lacking in compassion and understanding, that it disgusts me. Doesn't anyone in charge have a brain? A heart?

Then, while listening to CBC yesterday, I heard that Gordon Campbell who cut the program that I worked for and has never replaced it, is proposing a 22,000 a year increase in MLA's individual salary. People on welfare live on half of that annually. And since he came into government, programs have been cut that help the poor and as they suffer and struggle, the government's message is 'you can't sleep here' and with the excess in their budget from cutting programs for the poor, the elderly, the sick and injured and children, they give themselves a raise (or try to). What is wrong with this picture? Its hard to stomach!

1 comment:

katie said...

the giving yourself a raise thing never sits well. it is a conflict of interest. it's not like they are self-employed. there should be an independent...thing (board council auditor) that determines raises for politicans