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LETTER: City's new homelessness plan has 'mixed messages'

'Pay attention, city hall. Hunger and homelessness won’t go away with empty words and useless bylaws,' says letter writer
2022-01-17 Homelessness 1
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BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to ''Complex problem': Council takes aim at chronic homelessness,' published May 17, and 'Council paints stark picture around need for homelessness plan,' published May 18. 

There appears to be mixed messages in council’s recent direction in regards to the homeless.

They are taking away their rights to panhandle to ask for money for food and any options for shelter, yet last year council did nothing to create a warming centre or safe place to get out of the cold.

Promises of food programs and mental health supports are not the same as actually having these programs in place.

The Salvation Army suddenly stopped providing its food program. Where is the organization to take this worthy cause up? Why did they just dump their program that has been for years feeding the homeless?

A lot of talk and a lot of promises, but nothing to shelter or feed those unfortunate persons who find themselves living in the streets today.

This is not a new situation in Barrie. I personally feel strongly our council has for years tried to pretend it would all go away if they just had more condos built downtown.

It would be encouraging to see the actual money develop long-standing programs that would help those who can get back on their feet do so, but at the same time address the need for mental health supports that are percent of which we are so lacking in Simcoe County.

Yet where is the compassion for those now in this situation with council passing bylaws to not allow panhandlers? Maybe they should pass a law to ban hunger! 

Meanwhile, what do the homeless and hungry do while these heartless politicians go home to their homes to eat? Where is the heart in this? In that plastic sign in Heritage Park? 

Where is the accountability and the programs that were needed years ago? 

Pay attention, city hall. Hunger and homelessness won’t go away with empty words and useless bylaws.

You actually have to understand and address the issue with education, compassion and programs that help, not shame.

Maureen Cosme