Our View: With homelessness, start with kindness

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has launched a case in Abbotsford that should be watched closely in every other community across the province.

Since 2013, there have been a number of confrontations between the City of Abbotsford and local homeless people, who have been “evicted” from local parks and other public spaces. The BCCLA will now argue in B.C. Supreme Court that banning someone with no private home from public lands is unconstitutional.

We agree that simply kicking the homeless out of parks and alleys, out of vacant houses and camps in the bush, is broadly unjust. Our society is very good at protecting private and civic property, and less good at providing a space for people with nowhere else to go. 

Obviously, having homeless camps in public parks or on private lands is less than ideal, for everyone. It is intrusive to other park users, it increases costs for the municipalities, it can cause fears, whether justified or not, about crime, and it ultimately tends to become a drain on police resources.

We often forget that it isn’t ideal for the homeless, either. There are a very, very small number of people sleeping on the streets and in the bush who actually want to be there. 

The solution to the problem of homelessness is to find people homes. We may balk at the cost, we may argue about the best way to do it, but if as a society we can’t find a clean, safe place for everyone to live, we are failing.

Experiments around the world are now taking place in simply housing the homeless. In many cases it proves cheaper to build new housing, or to provide them enough money to rent a decent space, than all the combined medical, policing, and legal costs of dealing with them as homeless.

We tend to think of homelessness as something that needs to be “dealt with,” but the best way to deal with homelessness is to get people into homes. 

– M.C.

Just Posted

Early morning fire at Langley City factory

Two-alarm fire at CKF Products

Incident at Langley gas station sends one to hospital

What appeared to be an exacto knife seen at scene

Spartans take silver at U SPORTS games

TWU women’s soccer team edged by Gee-Gees Sunday in Ottawa

Dog’s death on busy road raises fears

A hit and run by a large truck has a community concerned.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

5 to start your day

One left dead after Abbotsford shooting, touching note left on Langley veteran’s windshield and more

Calgarians head to the polls to declare ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on Winter Games

The question “are you for or are you against hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?” was to be posed to them Tuesday in a plebiscite to help determine whether the city should move ahead with a bid.

Heir’s big birthday: 70 candles lined up for Prince Charles

Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child.

Trudeau lays down challenge to companies in bid to boost trade with Asia

“Building the relationships, building the connections, building the facility and also changing mindsets — getting Canadian companies to see the opportunities we have around the world to partner and invest.”

CNN sues Trump, demanding return of Acosta to White House

CNN is asking for an immediate restraining order to return Acosta to the White House.

Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

US trial to tell epic tale of Mexican drug lord “El Chapo”

Guzman’s long-awaited U.S. trial begins Tuesday in New York

Northern California wildfire is deadliest in state history

Holding out slim hope as crews search for more fire dead; 42 already killed in blaze

Most Read