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LETTER: MLA’s criticism ignores plight of homeless

I was appalled to hear my MLA, Adam Olsen rise in the legislature to attack a vital social housing project in my community. He is unwisely abetting nimbyism.

He spoke about nurturing community, but the community he supports in the area is privileged, white and has a history of ignoring and pushing back against supportive efforts to help those in need. Complaints about First Nations are common here, so the nimbyism has dangerous roots.

These are our neighbours. The homeless in Central Saanich have been sleeping in the woods here for years, some sleep beside the walls of local churches on cold nights. I have personally witnessed this as I walked to the bus stop in Saanichton on my way to work in the past.

I worked for two decades at BC Housing and have talked to some of Central Saanich’s homeless then and now. I am not afraid of people whose greatest need is shelter and kindness.

I don’t assume everyone who is homeless is an addict, but I know some become addicted to blot out the horror of being homeless. We are in the midst of an opioid pandemic. There are addicts all around us living in homes right next door, surrounded by family, as any paramedic or police officer could tell MLA Olsen. No one claims they are a danger to local children, and no efforts are made to drive them away.

Now is not the time to turn our backs on those in need. Now is the time to open our hearts and do our fair share.

Sue Stroud

Brentwood Bay

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