EDITORIAL: Nowhere to go

It seems to be that every winter, we see someone down on their luck in Golden.

Last week, a gentleman travelling through town was seen sleeping in the credit union, trying to find warmth against the elements outside. While it might not be the most appropriate place to be sleeping, the fact is that there is nowhere else for men to turn when they don’t have a roof over their head.

In Golden, we are so fortunate to have services for families and women, when they are in a hard place. But, we don’t have anywhere for men to turn. If they need warm shelter, they have to get creative, and often have to fend for themselves. We have seen men panhandling on the streets, living in their vehicles through the winter, and trying to find a hot meal at local establishments.

The best thing I can say, is to treat these people with kindness and dignity. Some people live their lives one expense away from slipping below the poverty line.

I’ve heard before about people living in tents during the winter months in Golden, and other cold areas around the province. My initial reaction is almost always fear. Not fear for my safety, or fear of what’s becoming of the town, but fear for the people’s safety. Without proper shelter and warm clothing and bedding, hypothermia can set in quickly.

Many communities have initiatives to ensure that homeless people stay warm throughout the cold months. Volunteers gather mitts and toques, warm coats, boots, and blankets. But, we don’t have this service in Golden.

The kindness of people in this town is unsurmountable. Everyone is always trying to help each other out. Whether it is donating to a good cause, or buying a meal for someone down on their luck, we are always trying to help. Maybe it is time we added another good Samaritan item to our list, and we could create a mitten and glove exchange, or something along those lines.

There are few options for men who become stranded in Golden. Coffee shops are only open so late to offer a place to warm up, and often they aren’t received well for overstaying their welcome. Then what? Back to the cold streets to figure out their next move.

We are so fortunate in Golden to have so many services available, there is only one small variation we could make to make life easier for people who end up here without a place to stay. Not to mention, we do have a housing crisis here, and finding a place to live on short notice can be very difficult.

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