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Opinion: City council wrong about homeless

I am writing to express my dismay and disappointment at your recent bylaw amendments.
17 Together We Stand protest
Together We Stand held a protest outside city hall on Monday night in support of the city's homeless population.

I am a homeowner in the Millar Addition and a resident of Prince George for the past six years.

I am writing to express my dismay and disappointment at your recent bylaw amendments, which target members of the homeless population, further destabilizing their situations and turning desperate people into criminals.  

Where is your sense of humanity?

I, along with dozens of others, gathered outside city hall last week, listening on webcam while you debated this issue. I applaud Murry Krause, Cori Ramsay and Frank Everitt and I condemn the rest of you for the way you handled an extremely important and currently universal issue. This issue is about how we treat each other. In the light of recent findings at residential schools, there is no denying how skewed society has become because of racist inequalities that go back for generations. What legacy are you leaving in further perpetuating these inequalities, further criminalizing those who can’t afford a place to live and who ask only for a space to live on? We have more than enough space to share.

I abhor the idea that some of my neighbours are abusing and complaining about people tenting below Patricia Avenue. To me, that is a perfect place for people to live. Rather than handing out fines or forcibly removing those who are trying to survive, why don’t we provide basic amenities such as toilets and showers and a source of clean water?

I would be proud to be a citizen of a city who could demonstrate this level of inclusion and acceptance of those who have become disenfranchised for historical reasons, that those of us who are privileged enough to own a house, need to consider carefully. I will be joining others to protest again, and again, and again, until there is acknowledgement of the humanitarian crisis in front of us, and more responsible, compassionate governance.

Susan Phillips

Prince George