It’s Our Humanity We Lose

Homeless CampIt was revealed yesterday that workers with the City of Abbotsford, BC intentionally spread manure on a camping area used by people experiencing homelessness near a Salvation Army shelter.  The city manager has accepted responsibility for the action, apologized, and promised to rectify the situation by cleaning the site.  This is an obvious case of trying to respond to a concern without addressing the root issues.

What is most dismaying about this story is how much it represents how we dehumanize those experiencing homelessness.  This conceptualization sees them as a nuisance that needs to be driven out or driven away.  The lengths we go to in doing so often include legislation, but also include this kind of despicable act, and it’s not the first time.  We can demonize the individual city manager who was responsible for this decision, but how in our own communities do we define some as undesirable and attempt to drive them away?

What is suggested around this story is that it dehumanizes those experiencing homelessness.  I agree with this assessment, but I want to add something as well.  People experiencing homelessness are our neighbours, our friends, our family…part of our community.  They are us.  In dehumanizing those experiencing homelessness, all of humanity is lessened.  It is our humanity we are taking away.

One thought on “It’s Our Humanity We Lose

  1. I do believe, that the people experiencing homelessness could be a lost sister, brother ,mother, father a close relative. In some way or another, I and so many others have been wronged by society and how we are supposed to think of the homeless. If it it were not for me being homeless and finally facing my issues living in a shelter and with the help of my worker and a program through Step Home;, a program to end persistent homelessness in the Waterloo region. They use a non- jugdmental approach to the people ,’The workers walked with me in my journey;’.They met me where I was,in my life ,,They accepted me for me.,.with the help of their guidance I received, addiction rehabilitation ,counselling, some education and so much more. I have been down and out and if it were not for the Social Planning Committee of Waterloo Region ,to come up with this program, that has successfully evolved into huge selection of agencies that help with addiction,housing ,job searches ,resume building ,a number of different resources to help people that want and need the resources. A city should have a more positive approach to helping the homeless instead of putting more” salt on their wounds” . Please just help one another,because we are all human beings, we all deserve a place we can call home . Then the’ working on myself ‘began, Five years later I have a job at a local shelter “as a Peer Health worker, helping people staying at the shelter by connecting them with resources. I am thankful and grateful for my life because I was taught to believe I was worthy of being happy!!!!!

    Suzi Gursoy

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