This whole thing bothered me quite a bit and so I wrote a letter to the editor that went like this:
When do we care about the homeless? When they make us
feel uncomfortable, or guilty. When do we decide that we should do something
about the situation? When we realize they are costing us money. This is a sad
reality of our culture. We are not concerned that there are 38 people who
obviously are in a very rough situation, who really need our help…we care that
they are costing us.
By presenting the story the way it was on the cover
of the Winnipeg Free Press, you are perpetuating this societal reality. The
result of the cover is that people will be angry with the homeless people who
are burdening us taxpayers. The reality is that we as a society have failed
these people. We have not provided them with the support they need to beat their
addictions. We have not distributed our resources in a way that helps them. I
know that the article (that was tucked away in section B) briefly discussed some
of these issues…but I believe the damage was done by having a cover that loudly
declares “How 38 street people are costing us millions” and breaking down all
the things that they do that cost us money. There are many great things that are
happening and that organizations are doing, there are things that work, and we
need to support those.
Gord Steeves says, “as a society we have an
obligation to get out there and make sure (these people) are forced into care.”
I disagree, instead I would say it like this:
as a society we have an
obligation to get out there and make sure these people know we care…not just
about OUR money.
As far as I know it didn't get published.