As a volunteer at the family centre, I am deeply disturbed by what is happening on social media.
First, a little history. Monica Sus and Traci Lochman started the Family Centre over two years ago. It was intended as a place where anyone one could come to grab a coffee or snack and socialize.
A new mother feeling lonely, new in town and don't know anyone, just having a bad day and need to sit in a non judgemental setting, this is what we (and I use the term we very loosely as I was not around until just over a year ago) planned the Centre to be.
No counselling no addiction centre, no food bank, just a place to meet and socialize. What evolved, was the very large homeless community in our area soon became our largest group of daily visitors.
Through the generosity of the many residents in the district and some dedicated volunteers we were able to make meals and create a food bank and even a temporary warming centre.
We did not plan any of this. It just happened.
We contacted different groups to voice our concerns about the need for proper facilities to address these problems. Most entities would not work with us because we were a volunteer group with no rule plan, although a warming centre did start up to ease the burden on us. Thank you to those folks stepping up to start this much needed service.
Fast forward to the new era of COVID-19. We are still a volunteer group and still relying on the generosity of people in our community and surrounding area and now with non essential businesses shutting down, the homeless have no place to shower and no place to isolate.
So once again we ask for help, not money, but for the powers that be to do the right thing and help deal with the problem.
We did not make homelessness, we just tried to help people that needed a helping hand. We are very frustrated that local officials won't step forward and help before there is a crises. Now that the government is funding people affected by COVID-19, can they not help the homeless in our town? They are people too. We need to address these concerns for the health and safety of the whole community.
I know our frustrations are showing in our posts on social media but working together to find a solution (of which we offered a few) would be more beneficial than choosing sides in a war of words.