KAMLOOPS — Dealing with the homeless population is one of the toughest jobs there is. I am constantly in awe of those who work on the street with the homeless and how they deal with the most marginal people in our society.
There are those who don’t feel the same way. They are not sympathetic at all. I feel sorry for those people. They are more to be pitied than the homeless.
But that being said, there are limits to what we can and should tolerate.
The RCMP have been under a bit of flak for confiscating shopping carts that these homeless people have stolen from retailers throughout the city. They use them for transporting their goods, collecting bottles, whatever. Those carts are important to them. But those carts cost a lot of money. A well-made heavy duty cart costs upwards of $300. It’s a significant cost item. And it’s not fair to assume that retailers should have to foot the bill for those items. They are stolen property, and the police should retrieve them and return them to their rightful owners.
It’s also unfair for retailers to have these people banging into people on sidewalks, and deterring them from shopping downtown. Elderly people have been shoved, hit, yelled at, and scared by the actions of these people.
Some of the homeless can’t help it, but where does the line get drawn? Obviously we have to have some strategies in place to deal with these issues. Are there other ways for these people to transport their goods? Obviously, if they had shelters, they wouldn’t need the carts. If we had ways of treating their illnesses, that would help.
But those solutions are in actuality far too simplistic. They all look good on paper, but implementing them cis a whole different story. Some of these marginalized people are afraid themselves, and feel trapped if they are put in an enclosed space. They would rather be on the street.
Some are hooked on drugs and those dealing with street people can tell you how that goes in terms of reaching out to them.
These issues are not easy to resolve, but to nag on the police or businesses for wanting their property back is unfair.
I know some will feel I am being insensitive to the plight of the homeless, and nothing could be further from the truth, but there are limits to everything, and that includes drawing the line at some point for what we are prepared to tolerate and what we are not.