There is a vitally important meeting going on in Quesnel next week and at it’s core is a question: Does Quesnel need a social safety net for its residents?
As citizens of Quesnel, do we need to reach out and give a hand up to people who are struggling to make ends meet?
Maybe this person has lost a job or a loved one and can’t cope so he or she numbs the pain.
It can happen to anyone and it’s happening more and more often.
Maybe this person has come from a mentally and physically abusive relationship as an adult or suffered quietly or shamefully as a child in a family setting.
Maybe this person is one of the people who is suffering from mental challenges and doesn’t have the life skills to take care of themselves and ends up on the streets. Then they’re taken advantage of by others on the street who prey on people who can’t protect themselves.
Maybe this person is stuck in that gerbil wheel that is substance abuse – unable to find a way to break the cycle.
Maybe this person is our mom or dad or our brother or sister, or an aunt or uncle or a cousin – someone we suspected was changing for the worse. Like that friend we had who suddenly went strange and started retreating in the dark corners of his or her world.
If we look into our hearts, we’ll find sadness and empathy. Most of us have experienced a small dose of the pain these people are feeling.
We are unlikely to be judgmental with our family and friends.
But do we have the courage and soul to not be judgmental with those who are not our family members or friends?
That’s our challenge when we look at the people who are homeless, or mentally challenged or embroiled in the horrors of substance abuse. We must not be judgmental; we must look for a way to help.
With that in mind, we encourage people to drop in at the Quesnel & District Seniors’ Centre on Dec. 13 to check out the information session and public hearing on the proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing Development, which includes sheltering and services for the people mentioned above.
There will be an open house, hosted by B.C. Housing, starting a 4:30 p.m. This will include a presentation and a question-and-answer period.
This will be an opportunity to look at the facility, ask questions about who it’s going to serve, what’s going to be available for the residents, and what rules and guidelines will be in place for the operation of the facility.
At 7 p.m., the City of Quesnel public hearing will begin and folks can let mayor and council know how they feel about the project.
We can only hope the meeting will be respectful and constructive.
Quesnel Cariboo Observer