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LETTER: Homeless deserve compassion, not brickbats

'Let us move the world forward together, and lift one another up, instead of tearing down the most vulnerable,' reader writes in response to Midland councillor's comments
2022-01-13 Homeless
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MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following is in response to a column titled 'East's fear of the homeless without foundation' published Jan. 24, which was written in response to an article titled 'Terrorizing downtown': East grills Guesthouse CEO on vagrancy' published Jan. 20.

Dear Editor,

I wanted to thank Mr. Walker for his recent column responding to the unchecked attack by Councillor Sheldon East on the patrons of the Guesthouse and those who have no place to live.

It disturbs me that the leadership of council allowed this to occur, especially since Mayor Bill Gordon invited (Guesthouse CEO) Nathan Sykes to speak at council.

As mentioned in a MidlandToday article about a homeless man seeking medically assisted death, a 'housing-first' strategy, instead of kicking people in the teeth when they are down, can be the difference between giving one the hope and will to live, even if they are someone who has worked very hard to succeed at life, despite their challenges.

For my part, I am grateful to have known many people who have had a very different attitude than Mr. East to those with challenges. I have not been homeless, but I do have mental health struggles; currently they are well managed with medication, therapy and self-therapy training from Waypoint's outpatient services. I am in the process of getting retraining to re-enter my hi-tech career, which was interrupted by a period of crisis in 2016-2017.

It is people, who are not like Mr. East, that allowed me to find and obtain remote work for San Francisco Bay area companies (Silicon Valley) and be a large tax contributor for a period of time (I fondly remember the period when I was paying more in taxes than some folks earn in a year, because for me it was a way of giving back for the supports I have had).

It is my hope that, while that heyday of my career is unlikely to return, that I will be able to once again be earning a significant income with which I can support those like Mr. Sykes who are helping others, as well those seeking to ensure we have a livable environment for future generations, which I believe is in jeopardy under the current provincial government, and those who oppose diversifying (and reducing) our energy sources and usage.

Let us move the world forward together, and lift one another up, instead of tearing down the most vulnerable.

Daniel Dickinson