Truth about homeless during COVID-19 not being given to public

Our "most vulnerable", the people most transient in our communities, are still on the streets

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Truth about homeless during COVID-19 not being given to public

It is questionable in this day and age when we get all our information on government agencies’ policies and actions through the media that news is incomplete and false or misleading.

Recently on television our health minister said along with our good Doctor Henry that the prime concern was taking care of our “most vulnerable citizens”.

News and newspapers screamed this out loud and clear, rules were made and directions given, Mr. Farnsworth and the solicitor general all spoke out to say bylaw [officers], and police were authorised to enforce government rules for people not following government directives. Day after day we heard of thanks to first responders and hospital workers and how our government appreciated them.

Now we look at the reality of what is happening and what we are not told.

The police and North Cowichan bylaw are on record in this paper as having no authority to enforce people not following government directives. The paper reported a week or so ago that the Duncan Housing Association [was looking for] government money to put the street people into hotels and motels to isolate and to protect them. This paper did not publish the news that Mr. Horgan and the provincial government turned the proposition down flat — no money, he said, too expensive, he said.

Our “most vulnerable”, the people most transient in our communities, are still on the streets where I live in Duncan. The mental health department which funds shelters through CMHA-CVB is saying they are helping the homeless people and drug dependant people, but spends the majority of its budget on wages and operations leaving little to help people.

The Warmland shelter on Lewis Street in Duncan is overloaded and has people congregating on the street in front of this shelter. These people have not been tested, are homeless and highly transient. If any of them had COVID-19 everyone would be in harm’s way.

The employees of Warmland in my observations do not observe the government directives and these vulnerable homeless people mix and mingle with Warmland staff, endangering them. They also endanger the people living in the Lewis Street area, some 800 families, mostly seniors and the ambulance centre personnel on the corner directly across from this shelter. This is a public safety issue of which nothing is published or on the news.

Why, when the government’s plans are published, does this paper and other media sources not publish the truth that the government is not doing things it says and “our most vulnerable” and the staff at this shelter and the public and ambulance personnel are put in harm’s way every day, not getting the protection that this government has promised?

So much for public safety and the care of our “most vulnerable”.

Larry Woodruff

Duncan

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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