The following letter is from Jennifer Mansour’s class at Learning Connections.
Squamish is a town of approximately 20,000 people. There are approximately 200 counted homeless in Squamish, but there are most likely many more uncounted. Many may argue that we don’t have much of a homeless population here, which may be true however the homeless population is ever-growing in Squamish. You almost never see them during the day, but they are here, they do exist and it is an issue. The town of Squamish is already adopting the crowded, busy, lifestyle that is life in Vancouver, do we really want to adopt the same amount of homeless? There are over 4,000 homeless people in Vancouver. Is that really what we, as the community of Squamish, want for our town? The reality is that’s where we’re headed if we don’t try to fix this issue. We need to address the Squamish homeless problem before we end up like Vancouver. But how do we, as a community, even begin to address this issue? How can we build our city in such a way that we are supporting our homeless people? One way we can start to help is educating our community about the homeless problem and why it’s so important to address.
It’s not something you really think about on a day-to-day basis. It’s not a part of your life so why should it matter?
Your life is often so full of other things that you may forget to have compassion for your fellow human beings, but it’s such an important issue to address as with a large homeless population may come the growth of other issues such as drug abuse. Drug abuse is already a big issue as it is. An increased homeless population may also mean an increased drug problem. Image is also something to think about. It’s not good for our city’s image to have many homeless people who aren’t getting the help they need, plus people from out of town come to Squamish to do all sorts of things, such as mountain biking and rock climbing.
They come into the downtown area to buy supplies, check out our local farmers market and eat meals at our local restaurants. But if the streets get crowded by local homeless people aren’t going to want to come to the downtown area.