It happened for me

Letters

Editor:

I’ve been a resident of the Sunshine Coast for 20 years. I totally support the establishment of supportive housing at the old RCMP building at 749 School Rd.

There is incredible stigma attached to homelessness, poverty, addictions, and difficulties people face with mental health issues. Because of that stigma, more fortunate folks can often sound complacent, cruel, and dismissive. I want to be on public record as having been a person who has faced homelessness myself, both on the Sunshine Coast and in North Vancouver before moving here.

I’d had life-long issues, not only with potential homelessness, but with poverty, addictions, and mental health hurdles, all of which have only eased up in the past few years for me. I know, from first-hand experience, how traumatizing, terrifying, overwhelming, vulnerable, and helpless it feels to have absolutely no shelter, no safe place to call one’s own, in a society that by and large takes shelter for granted, and that judges people who don’t have this as being “garbage,” “lazy,” and “dangerous.”

I know, first-hand, how feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, cynicism, and worthlessness can overwhelm a human being in situations like this. And I can tell you, from my own experiences, that there is nothing more incredibly life-affirming, exciting, and wonderful than to find a space with four walls, a ceiling (preferably one that doesn’t leak!), and a door whose key is in your own hand!

This is the starting point for all things hopeful, optimistic, energizing, and growth-enhancing.

If you haven’t been there, and can’t identify, please understand that you are one of the lucky ones! Your gift to someone you could have been – or might one day still be, as unlikely as it sounds – is the gift of hope, offered up in a package called a room of one’s own. All kinds of miraculous changes can take place inside that chrysalis called privacy and security.

It happened for me, and I’m grateful every day of my life for the shelter I have. I totally support the idea of using that old building to give other people a chance to regain their dignity and hope.

Janice Williams, Gibsons

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