Last week’s dismantling of a homeless camp created another stir on the Star’s Facebook page.
The issue appears to be polarizing.
It’s almost an even split between people cheering the decision to clean up the area and people opposed to it saying the homeless “have to live somewhere.”
The question of course is where?
And how do we classify someone as homeless?
Not everyone who lives on the street should be considered “homeless.” Many choose to live that way, either because they want to live outdoors or because they refuse to seek help from family, friends or charitable and government organizations.
On the other end of the scale are the people dealing with addictions or mental illness that end up on the street. Those are the individuals who deserve our support and sympathy.
But how do we differentiate between those who truly need help and those who just want a hand out?
It may be in the choices they make. It’s true that rent in Nelson is higher than a lot of other areas, but you can live somewhere else.
Your income should dictate your lifestyle. Smoking costs money. Owning a dog costs money. Rent costs money.
Make a choice.
There are programs and organizations out there willing to help those in need, but they don’t have the resources to help all the legitimate homeless people, let alone the ones who choose this lifestyle.
This issue is bigger than the municipal government, it should be dealt with provincially or federally.
But it isn’t.
Higher levels of government have been cutting back funding and dumping larger issues on the municipalities.
Homelessness is too big an issue for most cities and it will only get worse.