Letters Aug. 7: What it’s like to be homeless; Humboldt St. is a mess

An inside look at being homeless

I have read some appallingly cruel letters about the homeless from taxpayers who seem to feel we are living an easy life, getting all manner of handouts and benefits and care.

These benefits are by no means available to all homeless!

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Further, most of the homeless have been traumatized beyond what the more fortunate can even imagine.

And just being homeless is itself deeply traumatizing. Every single breath one takes is on Somebody Else’s Property and they can force you to leave. You have nowhere you can call your own, nowhere where you can relax and let your guard down.

You feel non-human, like a thrown-away piece of trash. Many of the people living in tents don’t even have access to toilets. And then society looks down on you, judges you as being lazy and immoral.

I have been a farmer for most of my life. Before farming full-time, I struggled for many years trying to get a well-paid job as a woman in a “non-traditional” trade.

The sexism, the grossly unfair treatment I was subjected to would fill a book. Even when working full-time (and farming on the side) I could not afford to live in a place with running water and electricity!

I did not get my three titanium prosthetic joints by sitting in front of a television set. I have worked hard my entire life. Almost two years ago I lost my lease, my beloved and prize-winning herd, and my home. There are many out there with stories similar to mine.

I am 61 and alone. Life has lost all sweetness. There is nothing to live for any more.

And to constantly hear or read about how horrible, dirty, druggy, crazy, violent and criminal we homeless are is a real slap in the face.

For crying out loud, we are human beings like the rest of you!

Willi Boepple
Rock Bay Landing

We must encourage more mask use

At first, I wanted localized COVID-19 information, but now realize that — in particular, given the growing lack of interest in wearing masks — such information would only encourage this false sense of security and lessen mask-wearing and distancing.

Given the increase in cases over the past few weeks, isn’t it time for Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry to get ahead of the game — especially after last weekend’s gatherings — and mandate masks before the caseload gets even higher?

Increasingly, our citizens — including doctors — are asking for this support for their personal efforts at containment.

Roger Love

Humboldt Street is a planning fiasco

Recently, after a pleasant walk, a friend and I decided to drive to Humboldt Street to check out the car-bike co-existence plan.

We drove the length of the one car lane stretch twice, in both directions.

I now appreciate bike lanes in the city after some initial resistance.

But the Humboldt Street bike lane “plan” (topped off by the useless concrete ping-pong table) must have been the result of one of those midnight council votes when everyone is too tired to think any more. I’ll refrain from using all the adjectives that I could use to describe this experiment and will stop at ridiculous, frustrating, and dangerous.

Victoria council needs to put a fast stop to the plan to similarly wreck Richardson Street.

Diane McNally

Fire safety is needed during COVID-19

Recently I was picking up a few things at my local supermarket when the fire alarm went off. Employees warned us it was real and that we should leave our groceries, take our personal belongings and get out.

We were led to two exits which in pre-COVID times were accessible. Now, they were not only blocked but locked.

We all had to exit single file through the sole controlled path set up for social distancing protocols. This was the only way out where in the past we could have exited more quickly through other doors as well.

In their efforts to save us from the sneezes of potential COVID spreaders, have the local planners considered fire safety? Why were these other exits locked?

I hope the Worksafe B.C. and health authorities consult with the fire department to ensure that in an emergency, people in public buildings can safely exit a dangerous situation.

Carole Costello

• Email: letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M2.

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