Thursday, December 11, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


I was absolutely outraged when I saw the pictures of homeless people splashed across the front pages of our newspapers this past week. Like many others I learned that First United Church has been provided $30,000 so people can sleep on their wooden pews and the hard floor of their sanctuary.

Excuse me but am I missing something here? Is this supposed to be a solution to homelessness?

First United Church has done good work over the decades assisting the underprivileged in our City but to now accept $30,000 and then bring in news outlets to snap photos of our downtrodden while they are passed out is really disgusting. In fact it is poverty porn and First United Church should be ashamed for engaging in this.

And excuse me media did any of the poor unsuspecting souls agree in writing to have their photos snapped by you? Oh but I guess you had the authorization of First United so you didn't need to have the citizens approval. You should also be ashamed.

People who are homeless need proper and secure shelter beds. Ideally in shelters there should be staff on hand to assist our less fortunate to ensure they are connected to our social safety net.

Warehousing our poor citizens in churches and providing them wooden pews or the floor to sleep is a further indignity and I just can't believe that not one politician or media outlet has had the guts to step forward and say this is wrong.

Poor homeless people need our caring and compassion, not cold wooden benches.

Let's give our heads a collective shake here folks.

Why is it that Vancouver treats our vulnerable so shabbily.

Only in Vancouver can women be fed to pigs and poor people offered pews and floors as beds.

Let's end the indifference folks. Let's hold the feet of all level of governments to the fire to solve this homeless crises.

And to the Churches if you are going to be part of the humane solutions needed to solve these human indignities than step up to the plate in better ways. Accepting $30,000 to assist the poor in the manner you have is unacceptable.

Citizens don't need your charity if it looks like what was just splashed across our living rooms as front page news.

Jamie Lee Hamilton