LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: No quick fix on homelessness
To the editor,
Much gets said about the state of homelessness in Nanaimo including the many difficulties around Discontent City as people are routinely abused in public and manipulated for political ends.
In reality, the economic context has changed leaving fewer jobs, lower wages and limited housing options, pushing even lower and middle-income earners out of the housing market. It’s perhaps telling nowadays that political hopefuls avoid speech-making on full employment talking instead of attracting well-paying jobs through emergent technologies. For some, this is akin to peddling utopia.
On America’s West Coast, high-tech investment hasn’t brought prosperity to everyone. In Portland, where housing was already limited, new residents arriving to fill positions swiftly drove up the cost of living, leaving people already at their financial limits without the ability they once had to afford a place. Many have ended up homeless using public shelters or else living in tents and vehicles on the streets.
If neoliberalism has been overselling its benefits, we might then question whether our social security apparatus is robust enough for the world ahead. Trauma, mental ill-health, and addictions are enormous factors to consider in homelessness whether downtown or elsewhere.
The constraints are real, yet we are still free to take up a humane position. Our best options right now are to support Nanaimo’s affordable housing strategy, its action plan to end homelessness and elect a fit mayor and council as of Oct. 20.
Mark Busby, Nanaimo