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Letter: Homeless face classic segregation discrimination
To the editor:
Re: Homeless Deserve Respect Same As All Of Us, in the Oct. 10 Capital News.
Bravo! I recently went to a popular coffee shop in the city of Kelowna and witnessed an incident of disrespect towards a homeless man.
Upon entering the coffee shop there was an older man ordering a drink and sandwiches at the counter. He paid fully for them, and the cashier gave him his change, sandwiches and a drink. She then told him to go and sit outside. He was not permitted to sit inside with the other patrons.
Have we not moved forward as a society? How is it that some of us think it is OK to shame and segregate our homeless population?
The homeless deserve our compassion, our mercy and to be treated in a humane way. I would venture to say, they are not on our streets because they all want to be there but rather they have experienced some tough circumstances and had little options to change them. Some may have drug/alcohol addiction, others runaway out of an abusive home, others have mental challenges, the list goes on —life can be very difficult for these people.
In writing this letter I hope to accomplish the following:
1. Ask businesses to change their practices. Be compassionate to the homeless among us. There is no need for segregation—it is high time we moved ahead and recognized peoples’ right to be treated equal, regardless of their financial status. They are people, it is OK if they use your toilets and sit in your coffee shops. If your other patrons are uncomfortable, that is their own issue.
2. Encourage people to have a spirit of generosity and treat the homless people among us with the respect and the dignity they deserve.
3. Let me venture to prompt people into thinking: How can I touch this persons life? If each of us bought a sandwich, a cup of coffee or gave a blanket to someone in need our homeless people would have more warmth, shelter and kindness vs. isolation, shame and disrespect.